J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Charles Rosen
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Sony
Catalog Number:SBK 48 173
Year Released/Recorded:1969
Total Playing Time:75:50
Comments:Peter Gibson:

I have over twenty recordings of the Goldberg Variations, and I am amazed that your readers have not submitted Rosen's. It is one of the two or three best. It is certainly the most 'intellectual' performance on piano, with a restrained rational coolness which lovers of romantic piano may dislike, but no one has ever got the tempos so exactly right, or brought out the structure and shape of each variations so clearly. You won't experience 'warmth' with this one, but since I hope in the next life to actually BE the Goldberg Variations, I will be very happy if my performer is Charles Rosen, as this may be the closest the mind of man can get to paradise, once we have shaken off the emotional fluctuations of this frustrating bodily form. Well, I like it, even if other people on your site don't.

Leonardo Christian said:

This is a wonderful recording for those who wish to experience all the beauty of one of the best works Mankind has ever created, and who go beyond the idea that an artist must be appreciated only with the available resources at the time it was composed.Yes, it was written thinking in a two-keyboard harpschichord, but I think that much is gained playing it on piano in the way Charles Rosen did. The correct choice of tempos,clarity of sound,transparency of textures and dinamic control (without making it as plain as a harpsichord, so dinamic contrast is used when music requires)make this one of the best approaches to the work, despite some sparse romantic ideas.The "touch" is full of meaning.I disagree with the people who think it is boring. I would prefer to say that the player chose unity above diversity, a dilemma that must be solved with coherence.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Peter Gibson
  • leonardo Christian
Date First Submitted:10/23/1997