J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Andras Schiff
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:London
Catalog Number:417 116-2
Year Released/Recorded:1983
Total Playing Time:72:22
Comments:Jan Hanford:

This ranks as on of the most astonishing piano recordings I have ever heard. Andras Schiff manages to make a piano sound as delicate as a harpsichord. He makes intelligent and musical choices in his interpretation. When playing the repeats he often adds ornamentation or, in a couple cases, plays and octave higher or an octave lower. My only complaint about the cd is it is divided into 6 tracks, and each variation is not indexed.

Of all the recordings of the Goldberg Variations I've heard, this is my favourite.

Note: This particular edition is out of print but has been reissued on Penguin Classics.

Freddie Sng said:

The Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff's approach to Bach's music is light and delicate, as displayed in this version of the Goldberg Variations. Under his hands, the piano retains its sonority and tone colour, and the set of variations flow with fluidity. He observes all repeats faithfully but is still able to capture the entire piece in one CD. A thoroughly enjoyable performance. As always in the case of Decca, the digital recording is outstandingly vivid and realistic.

Ricky Der said:

A splendid recording of the Goldberg Variations by one of the most inspired Bach players today. Schiff always finds a way to bring out the highest subtleties, and with great imagination. For instance, you will notice that he does not perform the repeats literally, but will vary in the repeat small figurations - a chord played broken starting from the top note will be played in reverse sequence in the repeat.

Everything is astonishing about his playing, his choice of tempos, his immaculate touch, his rhythmic precision and understanding. Schiff reveals fully the rich variety of this work.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Freddie Sng
  • Ricky Der
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:09/17/1998