J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

New Age Bach

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Joel Spiegelman
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Kurzweil 250 Digital Synthesizer
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:East-West
Catalog Number:90927-2
Year Released/Recorded:1988
Total Playing Time:53:41
Comments:Freddie Sng said:

Bach's music can be interpreted and arranged in a seemingly infinite number of ways without losing its essential qualities. Joel Spiegelman has taken the advantage of the tremendous growth of electronic music as represented by the Kurzweil 250 Digital Synthesizer to produce this transcription. The Goldbergs under him is full of cheerfulness and fun which his Kurzweil interpretation can capture so well. A full-bodied digital recording sound too.

Jan Hanford said:

I love synthesized interpretations of Bach, particularly Wendy Carlos. So, I was excited to find this electronic version of one of my favourite works, The Goldberg Variations.

What a horrible cd. This performance is an insult to all electronic musicians and lovers of electronic music. This recording lacks any sophistication and musical maturity whatsoever. The choice of sounds is often absurd, making a cartoon-like collage of the counterpoint. What could have been a serious interpretation using state-of-the-art sampling technology is, instead, a mess. A total waste of the performer's and the listener's time. Thankfully, it's out of print.

Enrique Sanchez:

I bought this version of the Goldberg Variations a number of years ago and I must say that I have gotten to enjoy this recording alongside Glenn Gould's "legendary" recording and Dmitri Sitkovetsky's string orchestra arrangement (which I heard live for string quintet) - as wonderful examples of one of the masterworks of music.

Mr. Speigelman's approach is very diverse and I believe, ingenious. It does stray quite a bit from the sort of arrangements of Bach's music that we are accustomed to.
But with the right frame of mind, anyone can enjoy the delicious orchestral arrangement he has conceived.

The Goldberg Variations are not necessarily to be taken as another stuffy museum piece - which we may only enjoy within the frameworks of the original conception. By golly, if there was anyone who enjoyed arranging and rearranging, it was JS Bach!

This CD captivated me when I bought it and I would recommend it to anyone with a good sense of humor with two parts joy and one part veneration for the original.
Mr. Speigelman's effort may not be popular with some listeners. But I sincerely feel it deserves higher praise and more careful review and observation than it has been afforded in the past.

Let's give this joyful recording a chance to charm you. I hope you enjoy it. Mr. Speigelman's love for this piece is very evident by the glorious arrangement of the principal ARIA for a choir of angelic sounding voices.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Freddie Sng
  • Enrique Sanchez:
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:11/29/1996