J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Scott Ross
Individual Works:Variations Goldberg BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:EMI
Catalog Number:CDC 749058 2
Year Released/Recorded:1988
Total Playing Time:75'39
Jan Hanford said:

Scott Ross has always been a favorite of mine. His recording of the complete Scarlatti sonatas is an important masterpiece; it's truly remarkable.

This performance of the Goldberg Variations is one of my favorites on harpsichord, followed closely by Trevor Pinnock's (another out-of-print treasure). They are both remarkable harpsichordists, but I prefer the sound of the (unidentified) harpsichord on the Ross recording. The performance does not resemble Gould in the least, so I think the reviewer below (Peral) is mistaken.

I enjoy his straightforward approach to playing the music, rather than under/over-interpretting or adding superfluous ornamentation. His tempos are brisk without seeming rushed. It's recorded very close, so the sound is intimate and reveals every detail.

The legacy of a great harpsichordist, who sadly died too young.

David Ley said:

Contrary to the opinion of your previous reviewer of this disque, M. Peral, I would have to disagree and to state that this is a highly personal interpretation of this work, and has nothing at all in resemblance to Goulds viision of JSB's keyboard music, which Mr. Ross candidly despised as being mannered, eccentically pedantic and completely off the mark as far as historic keyboard practice should be observed. The Scott ROSS recording offers an extremely beautifully balanced sound take of the instrument, (no mean feat with the harpsicord) through the talent and the genius of the recording engineer, Georges KISSELHOF. A recording is in itself but an image of an event which, with the passage of time becomes a bit of history. Having been priviliged to particpate at this recording myself, as well as at numerous concert performances by Mr. Ross of this programme, I can honestly acclaim that as I heard it then, it was and will remain a most authoritative, masterful and truly magnificant interpretation.

Fernando Peral said:

This is a superb version of these Variations, with plenty of of nuances and sensibility, fully respecting the sonority of the instrument and -probably- lightly influenced by Glenn Gould's 1981 version of this work. Highly recommendable for those who enjoyed Glenn Gould's interpretation.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Fernando Peral
  • David LEY
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:05/30/1997