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Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Andras Schiff (Piano)

The New and Improved Goldberg Variations from Andras Schiff

3

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

Goldberg Variations BWV 988

András Schiff (Piano)

ECM

Oct 2001

CD / TT: 70:43

3rd recording of Goldberg Variations BWV 988 by A. Schiff. Recorded live at Stadtcasino, Basel, Switzerland.
Discussions: Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Andras Schiff
Buy this album at: Amazon.com


Donald Satz wrote (October 5, 2003):
Comparison Version: Schiff/Decca/1983

I should report from the start that I am not a big fan of Andras Schiff's 1983 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations from Decca which can also be found on the Penguin label. I find his performance mannered and fussy, often destroying a fine sense of flow and momentum. Further, he can be so reticent in his touch with both the upper and lower voices that the impact he conveys keeps cutting out.

So, why would I even bother acquiring Schiff's new version? Mainly because about 20 years have passed since the earlier recording, and I've always thought that Schiff has what it takes to be an exceptional representative for Bach's music.

Although I hoped for better things from Schiff this time around, I am absolutely bowled over by his wonderful new interpretation. Largely gone are the mannerisms and search for nuances that aren't there. More significant, the reticence of twenty years ago is now absent; Schiff's newly assertive touch is consistent and a joy to listen to. Instead of hanging back in the shadows, Schiff is now a full participant in Bach's
soundworld.

Likely the most important positive change is that Schiff no longer looks for the momentary effect that bogs him down in the Decca performance; his priority on the sweep of the music is now much stronger, and he doesn't allow the musical flow to be interrupted.

I also can't emphasize enough the improvement in sound quality. Decca piano sound was not in good shape in the 1980's, having a hollow acoustic that didn't allow for much detail or sharpness. The ECM sound is state-of-the-art in all respects - rich, detailed, crisp, and appropriately stark. It beautifully handles increases in volume, so let it rip! This is not a version to play softly; it flowers through strong volume.

Schiff also improves on his decision-making. As an example, for the Decca recording he goes to a much higher octave for the two repeats in the 7th Variation; the result sounds like a bad joke with glassy sound to boot. In his new version, he sheds the cute effects and gives us a compelling reading.

With Schiff/Decca out of the way, how does Schiff/ECM compare to the Goulds and Turecks of the world? Well, he's nothing like Gould or Tureck. Gould makes his stand in an exacting environment; Schiff is more poetic and much more elastic. Tureck x-rays every musical strand and digs deep into the heart of the human condition; Schiff, if possible, avoids conflict and pain. However, Schiff's version has a quality that is not generally present in the various Gould and Tureck recordings. He has great buoyancy, and the performances are consistently vibrant. Schiff is as upbeat as possible, and he sounds like he's having a great time giving his live performance.

Schiff's readings are on the brisk side, and some listeners might not appreciate the quick tempos. However, what is lost in the savoring of emotional content is more than made up for through Schiff's greater urgency of expression. What counts is that Schiff presents a coherency that is delightful and makes his version one of the most rewarding for listening to the entire work in one sitting.

Don's Conclusions: Andras Schiff's new recording of the Goldberg Variations is a gem that easily supplants his earlier version for Decca. Now, he experiences the best of life instead of watching it from a corner of the room. This is an exhilarating set of performances that deserves a spot next to my Gould and Tureck versions. It's the best Bach recording Schiff has ever made, and I find it essential for the Bach keyboard section of one's music library.

 

Article on Andras Schiff and his new Goldberg recording

Peter Bright wrote (October 5, 2003):
From the UK Guardian (Oct 3):

Bach at his best

The Goldberg Variations are the pinnacle of achievement on the piano.
Andrs Schiff gives Martin Kettle a guided tour

Friday October 3, 2003
The Guardian

In general, says Andrs Schiff, he does not rerecord the piano repertoire at all. "This work, though, is very close to my heart. Closer than anything really. This is the exception." This work, exceptional in every sense, is Bach's Goldberg Variations, arguably the greatest of all keyboard works. Schiff has just rerecorded the variations for ECM. Twenty years ago, the Hungarian-born pianist made a much-acclaimed studio version for Decca. Now, as he nears his 50th birthday, comes this second version, recorded in Basle, a live performance like all Schiff's current
recordings. Schiff, it turns out, is not just good at playing the Goldberg Variations. He talks a pretty mean performance of them, too. He has provided what he calls a written "guided tour" to the variations to accompany the new disc. And when we meet in the north German city of Bremen, where he has just given the latest of what he calculates as "several hundred" lifetime performances, he gets straight down to explaining the work yet again.

The Goldberg Variations form the final part of what Bach, in his characteristically practical way, called the Clavier-Ubung, or keyboard exercise. But Schiff insists that we should not let such a utilitarian title mislead us. "Bach is a very modest man," Schiff says. "He does not boast. He has no ego whatsoever. So this is a very modest title." The exercises are a collection of every genre and form of composition for the keyboard, but they culminate in the variations. They are "the best of him", Schiff says, the "pinnacle of his whole output for keyboard", the "non plus ultra".

When Schiff performs these variations, he explains, there can be nothing else on the programme. The Goldbergs must stand alone, played with all repeats, a performance that takes about 70 minutes. "It would be an absolute sacrilege to play anything else. And I never play an encore. And I would prefer it ideally if there was no applause at the end, just a wonderful silence. Unfortunately there is almost always someone who wants to show how well he knows the piece by applauding at the instant the final note has been played."

Nowadays, the Goldbergs are a universally revered piece. It wasn't always this way. "These variations were a well kept secret for most of the 19th century," Schiff says. "Beethoven knew them, of course. There would be no Diabelli Variations without the Goldberg Variations - they're obviously the model. But mostly they were studied, not played in public." Not until Wanda Landowska resurrected the work for the harpsichord at the start of the 20th century did the Goldbergs take their current position as a pinnacle of the literature.

Getting into Bach's mind as he wrote them is a challenge that Schiff eagerly accepts. "I think he didn't really think very highly of the variation form. He was a man of his time in that respect too. He viewed the variation form as an entertainment form, very extroverted and very brilliant. But Bach was a man of great integrity. He despised cheap success. He wrote very few variation-form pieces." The Goldberg Variations begin and end with a so-called aria which is one of the most sublime statements of calm in all European music. Its return at the end, after 30 variations, is one of the profoundest moments in all Bach. But Schiff has a good tip for the listener beguiled by the simple dignity of the aria's tune. Listen instead, he cautions, to the bass. It is the true guide to the work as a whole. "I think the way to think of is by thinking of Bach as an architect rather than as a painter. Beware of the tunes. Concentrate instead on the ground bass, which is the solid foundation of everything else. Where I live now in Florence, we have this most beautiful cathedral with its dome and cupola by Brunelleschi. But it would not be there without the foundations to hold it up. Similarly in music there is a tendency to follow the top line. I think always in music we should start with the bass."

The structure of the Goldbergs can seem austere and academic. The key to the variations is the number three, says Schiff. After the aria, the 30 variations are arranged in 10 groups of three. In each group, Schiff argues, one variation represents "the physical", one "the emotional" and one "the intellectual". "The first is very virtuoso, a toccata-like piece. The physical side represents for me the joy of playing. It has to have this element. Then there is the emotional side. It can be a dance piece perhaps, or a singing piece, like the 13th variation, which is a particularly beautiful ornamented song in the major key, or its sister piece in the minor, the 25th variation that Landowska called the 'black pearl'. And then every third variation represents the intellect, and these are all in the form of canons, each at an increasing interval, starting with the canon in unison and working up to the canon in ninths.

"We have to get rid of the idea that he was writing these variations as a monument to himself," Schiff continues. "He was not at all concerned with posterity, and it is important not to treat every bar too reverentially." That is especially true, Schiff suggests, of the 30th and last variation, the so-called Quodlibet. "We are expecting a variation that is true to the structure of the piece, which would be a canon in tenths. Instead, Bach produces 'a most human climax', a movement whose title means literally 'what pleases'. The ground bass is still there, of course, but the character of the movement is formed by two folk tunes that would have been easily recognisable to Bach's contemporaries.

"One of these songs is about cabbages and turnips. The other is about how long it is since he has been away. I feel it's all very sociable and merry, like a family get-together. I can imagine Bach and his family all sat round the table with a glass of beer. I have heard performances which are deadly serious here. But that completely misses the point. There is the most profound humour here, the kind of humour that we later find in Haydn and Beethoven. A great artist does not have to write only about man's sufferings, you know."

The great Bach pianists are constantly drawn back to the Goldberg Variations. Glenn Gould famously also recorded them twice, at the beginning and end of his life, producing wildly different readings on each occasion. The late Rosalyn Tureck recorded them over an even longer span, first in the 1950s, the last time in 1999.

Now Schiff is joining this distinguished club. He is frank about what he sees as the shortcomings of his great predecessors. Gould, he says, is "an artist you should admire but not copy". Nobody can approach him in articulation, Schiff says, "but at the expense of the singing way of playing the piano. Gould himself sings, but his piano never sings. But maybe that's the way he wanted it. There was nothing he couldn't do." Tureck, on the other hand "had this high-priestess aspect, which is totally legitimate but not something I follow or share." Bach, says Schiff, can be presented "in a very forbidding way, but I don't think this is my way".

We shake hands as I leave. Schiff is going off to practice. "Back to the Goldbergs, yes," he says. "I will play for half an hour and go through the things I didn't like in last night's concert. It's like climbing. I'm a few hundred feet higher up the mountain than I was before. I can see things I did not see then. But I'm still nowhere near the top."

Andrs Schiff's new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations is released this week on ECM Records

Aryeh Oron wrote (October 5, 2003):
[To Peter Bright] Another favourable review, by Donald Satz, appears at the following page of the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NonVocal/Klavier-Goldberg-Schiff[ECM].htm

Peter Bright wrote (October 6, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks - I enjoyed reading Don's review. I was also not particularly taken by his earlier (1983) set and rarely listen to any of it, but one thing I admire about Schiff is that he brings humour and playfulness to his Bach playing (particularly in recent years). I saw him play the Goldbergs a couple of years ago at the Royal Festival Hall in London and left greatly impressed. As Don points out, he avoids the gravitas and weight of interpretation provided by, say, Tureck, but certainly succeeds in bringing the music to life. I'm really looking forward to picking this one up...

Uri Golomb wrote (October 6, 2003):
< Peter Bright wrote: I saw him play the Goldbergs a couple of years ago at the Royal Festival Hall in London and left greatly impressed. >
Yes, I attended that concert as well (on October 26, 2000), and was also highly impressed. I was particularly struck by his achievement of continuity -- he seemed to forge the entire 70-minute of the work into a single, coherent whole, without giving up on internal contrasts of character. Unity did not euqal uniformity -- on the contrary: it was achieved by a constant sense of flow, of one phrase leading into another. This even meant that sometimes a variation would acquire its characteristic expression gradually. Variations 10 and 26, for instance, both started quietly and reflectively, slowly gathering strength and sharpness, culminating in an emphatic conclusion. This would have made little sense in isolation, but was highly effective in context - as these variations arose out of the depths of their quieter predecessors (especially in the case of variation 26, which follows on the remarkable "Chopinisque" 25).

I am gratified to learn that several people who didn't like the 1983 recording do like the new one. This, plus my own enjoyment of the aforementioned concert, makes me quite sure that I will greatly enjoy this new recording.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 18, 2003):
[To Roy Johansen] Agreed, Roy! I second your endorsement of it. With that contrapuntal clarity, and the dance, and the deliberate rhythmic "inaccuracies", and the fresh repeats...all of it. Exactly. And the sense of play. And the way it stands up so well to repeated listening.

It illustrates that same stuff I was yakking about this morning, at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/11490
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/11492

And my recent posting about that Schiff disc:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/10970

153, huh? Wow. A guy I knew in school was trying to collect them all, but I think you have more than he does.

Thomas Radleff wrote (November 19, 2003):
Roy Johanssen wrote: < This is the first time I have really enjoyed the repeats; all too often they become but mechanical restatements of what's already been said, but this version is different! >
Obviously you have never tried Vladimir Feltsman´s version - some varying interpretation aside, he quite often is crossing hands in the repeats, shifting the main part from the bass to the soprano, or vice versa.

Donald Satz wrote (November 19, 2003):
[To Roy Johansen] I'm also with Roy. Schiff's 1983 version on Decca is way down on my list, but his new one on ECM is fabulous; he now fully conveys the sweep of the music instead of getting bogged down with particular phrases and nuancing them excessively.

I also agree with Roy about the Hantai Book 1 concerning the soundstage.

Roy Johanssen wrote (November 19, 2003):
I know this is quite a johnny-come-lately, but I justhave to share my excitement! I finally bought a copy of Schiff's new Goldbergs today, and I haven't even listened to the whole thing yet--the disc is spinning as I type--, but I've gotta tell you: This is SO good! I own 153 versions of the Goldbergs (yes, I need help), but the other 152 aren't going to get a lot of attention in the near future; this is a recording to savour, indulge in, and OD on. The contrapuntal clarity is astounding, despite this being a live recording. Schiff even manages to kind of create new melodic lines from among the well-known series of notes --especially in the repeats (not unlike what Gould did to Mozart, whatever you may think of that...). --And speaking of the repeats: This is the first time I have really enjoyed the repeats; all too often they become but mechanical restatements of what's already been said, but this version is different! He also balances the slight rhythmic "inaccuracies" against the strict notated metre very well; never letting his "feelery" get in the way of the movements' danceabilty: you can actually dance to all of this music, without having to periodically suspend your leg in mid-air, waiting for the player to get disentranced from his Chopin moment. I must admit I had a "Schiff-schmiff" attitude to the news of this recording; probably caused by Mr. Schiff's first Goldberg endeavors, and knowing that the new disc was recorded live didn't help either. I envisioned a let's-above-all-not-take-any-chances-since-this-is-live approach, riddled with an obscene amount of reverb from the concert hall (the latter point of which is why I really didn't care much for the Hantaï WTC of recent discussion; I honestly feel that any recording artist of acoustic music should give the listener/buyer the freedom to choose their own listening environment and not having it imposed on them; you can always add more/different reverb if you so wish, but once it's recorded it will always be there to obfuscate (in some cases, blessedly) the details of the performer's work). While this disc is not nearly as dry as Gould's, the room never gets in the way of the music.

Much more praise, I'm sure, could be given this recording, but I'm going to shut up now and listen to the rest of the disc.

Please bear over with my irrepressible two cents' worth, but go out and get this disc if you haven't already done so!

Roy Johanssen wrote (November 19, 2003):
[To Thomas Radleff] I have heard Feltsman's version, and I agree with you that the repeats are more different than, well, pretty much any other recording. Personally, I got the impression that Feltsman got, to paraphrase Gould's comments about Beethoven (look who's talking :) ), too busy being Feltsman for him to produce good music. Feltsman's repeats really aren't much more than changes of registers and the use of octave couplings, are they? Yes, his dexterity is at times impressive, but even this gets marred by the 500-square-foot tiled bathroom where the recording was apparently made. Schiff, on the other hand, sounds, to me, so much more musical! To me, his repeats convey something like "OK, so we've heard the piece, now let's have some fun with it!", yet remain idiomatic (perhaps that merely means they fit my idea of "idiom"...) There's something so irresitibly playful about his performance. Feltsman has, perhaps, more novelty value, but for this purpose, I'd much rather listen to one of the synthesizer versions (anyone heard Joel Spiegelman's? (I know you have, Brad. ;) )).

I did enjoy hearing the Feltsman when I first got the disc; the number of different approaches to one and the same work (even by the same performer; cfr. e.g. Tureck, Gould, Weissenberg, Leonhardt) will always astound me, but I'm afraid it won't be among what I pack when I head for that island.

Donald Satz wrote (November 19, 2003):
[To Roy Johansen] Those changes of registers that Feltsman used in his repeats were not appealing to my ears; the piano tone tended to be glassy, and it sounded more like a gimmick to simply be different more than anything else. Schiff also engaged in higher registers in a few of his repeats in the Decca performance.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (November 19, 2003):
[To Roy Johanssen] Your enthousiasm is appealing.

(Jeez, 153 versions ! And I thought I was crazy with my 19 versions of the
SMP !) You certainly have a very profound attachment to this work, and I'm sure
it's kind part of you.

Could you say something about the main differences you see between this Schiff's recording and Tureck's last Goldberg recording (1998 DGG), and why Schiff has your preference compared to Tureck ? What is your opinion about the last Tureck version ? As you obviously know so well all that has been recorded, your opinion is very interesting. I personally love the Tureck recording.Before Schiff won your highest praise, which version did you prefer ?

Roy Johanssen wrote (November 19, 2003):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] 19 SMPs isn't bad! They usually clock in at three discs per, so you have a nice collection going there...

I'm flattered that you ask me to compare the Schiff and Tureck recordings,and I know there are other list members who are boundlessly more qualified to do so than I, but I'll be happy to give it a go if you're happy with a dilettante's (in the original sense of the word, I hope) take on it, the take of someone who never even had a single piano lesson with the seamstress cum piano teacher down the street :)

The first thing to strike me is the difference of mood between the two. It really sounds like Schiff is having fun with this music. Tureck's is much more contemplative; brooding almost. It also sounds like she is struggling more technically, in a way she didn't in her earlier recordings (hear her BBC WTC for example, or her 1988 Goldbergs on VAI (too bad the sound is so bad)), and to me it gets in the way of the music. She also doesn't vary the variations the way Schiff does. Yes, her performance is coherent, but almost to the point of getting predictable. Tureck's recording is certainly a very competent one, and I understand well your love for the disc, but have you heard any of her earlier recordings? (The 1995 St. Petersburg is kind of similar to the DGG version, at least more so than the even earlier ones, so try to find one of the latter if you can.)

Which one was my favorite before the new Schiff? Oh man, that's a hard one. There are so many worthwhile recordings out there. Most of my 153 versions really add something to the "domain of the Goldbergs" that exists in my head (funny the way it's easier to think of recordings that you don't like than the ones you do...). My first recording was Gould's '55, and that one absolutely blew me away . I was 15 and had grown up in a home where the only music played was Country & Western and 50s/60s Rock 'n' Roll. (To fill in the picture, I should also mention that I grew up in rural Norway, in an area reminicent of the hilly U.S. environs where familial relationships reportedly are, uhm, combined.) My second Goldbergs was one of Landowska's recordings (I can't remember which one, and in any case I have yet to quite warm up to either; that steel-framed Pleyel really makes Beecham's comment on harpsichords make sense. :) ) For years, and perhaps to some extent, still, Gould's '55 remained the "Platinum Metre Rod" (being a French resident, you know what I'm talking about, right? :) ) against which everything else is compared and, regrettably, too often, valued. Anyway, some of the recordings I still enjoy are Ekaterina Dershavina (incredible playing; why don't we hear more from hear?), Christiane Jaccotet (terribly underrated/"under-talked-about"; maybe that's what you get when you're always on the budget-price labels), Robert Hill (this one's really nice), all of Gould's recordings (such difference from one and the same person! They are all, I think, convincing, and full of the Gouldian quirks that we have come to know and love/loathe, but all done (increasingly so as he got older, of course) so control-freak-fashion thoroughly that it cannot but imbue respect and, for some people, admiration), and then there's a really marveClaudio Arrau recording from 1942. To me, this is the "forgotten Goldberg". People seem to think that before Gould's '55, there were only Landowska and Tureck. Arrau's recording is really quite good, especially taking the lack of tradition at the time into consideration, and I think it holds up quite well, even today. I would also venture a guess that Gould must have heard this recording before he canned his first one... The CD release (RCA Victor) suffers a bit from surface noise from the 78 transfers in some of the movements, but the playing is superb.

As I said, there are so many really nice versions; I almost feel bad for a large number of the ones I haven't mentioned (I probably should mention my compatriot Ketil Haugsand (harpsichord) who, in my slightly biassed mind, does an applaudable job on a very pleasing-sounding instrument.)

I hope this was a bit like what you had in mind, although I cannot really nail one particular recording as "the one before the Second Coming of Schiff". (Nor does the new Schiff mean that I will never listen to any of the other versions; I don't even know that it will turn out on top when all is said and done (nor do I know that I indeed have a set-in-stone ranking list of the different versions), but it did excite me enough that I will give it a good few spins in fairly short order, and enjoy it hedonistically!

Perhaps I could ask you, in return, which is your favorite SMP? --And how do you feel SMP compares to SJP? I must admit I have a weakness for the latter...

John Pike wrote (November 20, 2003):
I agree. Schiff's new Goldbergs are wonderful. Beautiful phrasing, brisk and lively tempi, real style and conviction.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (November 20, 2003):
Roy Johanssen wrote: < I hope this was a bit like what you had in mind, although I cannot really nail one particular recording as "the one before the Second Coming of Schiff". (Nor does the new Schiff mean that I will never listen to any of the other versions; I don't even know that it will turn out on top when all is said and done (nor do I know that I indeed have a set-in-stone ranking list of the different versions), but it did excite me enough that I will give it a good few spins in fairly short order, and enjoy it hedonistically! >
Yes, it was. Don't apologize for being a "dilettante". I find your opinion as interesting as a scholar's (and sometimes boring) essay. What I also like on this list is this simplicity of sharing our enthusiasm, our music lover feelings and our thoughts, even if we don't feel "qualified". When one stand by Bach, I think that even the most scholar and the most professional on (or off) this list can be considered as a "dilettante". This concept has innumerable grades. We are always the "dilettante" of someone else.

So thank you very much for sharing some interesting impressions on Tureck and Schiff. I see a little better what you are searching for, with your extended interest in this work. I think each of us has a "special" work that resonates in our soul in such a way that we need it, as a mantra, to be repeated and renewed with new recordings and different interpretations, as if we had to explore all its diamond facets - and we know that all great Art works have this particularity. Some people might think that it's a sort of "collector" craze to buy so many versions of the same work, but it's not. One of my brothers does the same with Mahler's 2nd Symphony... A psychoanalytic approach and interpretation would surely be interesting ! We should profoundly ask ourselves why, and why "this" specific work ?

< Perhaps I could ask you, in return, which is your favorite SMP? --And how do you feel SMP compares to SJP? I must admit I have a weakness for the latter... >
I'm as uneasy as you are with the Goldberg Variations...
For quite a long time, my "favorite" was Harnoncourt's first recording (1971). Then, Brüggen's version (1998) kind of dethroned Harnoncourt. Until the recent Mc Creesh, and the Enoch zu Guttenberg came.

But what means "favorite" ? I've never heard a "totally" satisfying version (to my opinion, of course). Each of the recordings I know have jewels in it (apart maybe from Koopman that I really sense as very dull), and things that seem to be less good. I could make a precise list of everything I love in each version (and, of course, a list of what I sense as "wrong".)

So what could be considered as "favorite" would just be the most globally satisfying recording according to my criteria. And if a new recording dethrones a former one, it's because more criteria have been fulfilled - or maybe because a new criterion has been created by this new recording. Of course, I often think : "Well, for this aria, it should be the singer of this version, with the tempo of another version, plus the musicians of this one, and the recording technique of this other..."

When I listen to a new SMP recording, I never expect that it will be THE one, THE definitive ( I even think I deeply hope it will NOT be) ; I just expect , as you say, in a sort of hedonistic state of mind, to hear a couple of new things, a sudden inflexion or accentuation that would move me to tears, a tempo that seems to be more accurate than what I heard before, a recording technique that helps me hearing more clearly the polyphonic layers, something that makes me change, that makes me evolve, that makes me think : "Aha ? So, the Matthäus-Passion can ALSO be this ? Hmm, interesting..." And the two last recordings (Paul Mc Creesh and Enoch zu Guttenberg) did that.

To end answering your questions, I can just say that, for obscure reasons, the SJP doesn't resonate in me as the SMP does (I only have 2 versions, Parrott and Harnoncourt, and I don't listen to either very often).

John Pike wrote (November 20, 2003):
Another fine recording of the Goldbergs is by Murray Perahia. I have also bought Angela Hewitt's well reviewed recording but have not heard it myself yet.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 21, 2003):
Here is a whole new "can of worms".

For myself, there is (and somewhat always has been) 2 pinnacles in the Matthaeuspassion recorded "literature": Richter and the Thomanerchor Leipzig. This latter has come in more recently. I have owned 2 of the 3 Richter recordings. Of the two, I favor the latter (the 1979) recording, although I like all equally. The second I favor is the Mauersberger Matthäuspassion. I do not favor the Ramin Matthäuspassion because it takes a more "dancelike" pace especially in Movement I.

As for the Johannespassion and its merits when compared to the Matthäuspassion, I would argue that each work has its own merits. While it might seem to be musically weaker and less unified than the Matthäuspassion, I would argue that the same was true for the early version of the Matthäuspassion, which unfortunately can only be purchased directly from the Knabenchor Hannover (unless anyone on the list has heard of another vehicle for purchase [hint, hint]?). The form of the Matthaeuspassion we have now is just as much a hotch-potch as the Johannespassion. For recordings I here would recommend the Ramin and Rilling (the 3-CD set) recordings.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 21, 2003):
I almost forgot to point out that the Lukaspassion and Markuspassion have the same vantage point when compared to the Matthäuspassion.

 

Goldberg Variations BWV 988: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2005 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019
Comparative Review: Goldberg Variations on Piano:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Comparative Review: Round-Up of Goldberg Variations Recordings:
Recordings | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
GV - R. Barami, J. Crossland, O. Dantone, D. Propper | GV - M. Cole | GV - J. Crossland | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - S. Dinnerstein | GV - R. Egarr [Lehman] | GV - R. Egarr [Satz] | GV - R. Egarr [Bright] | GV - Feltsman | GV- P. Hantai | GV - P. Hantaï (2nd) | GV - K. Haugsand | GV - A. Hewitt | GV - R. Holloway | GV- H. Ingolfsdottir | GV- K. Ishizaka | GV - J. Jando | GV - B. Lagacé | GV - G. Leonhardt | GV- K. Lifschitz | GV - A. Newman | GV - T. Nikolayeva 3rd | GV- J. Payne | GV - W. Riemer | GV - C. Rousset | GV - S. Schepkin, M. Yudina & P. Serkin | GV - A. Schiff [ECM] | GV- H. Small | GV - M. Suzuki | GV - G. Toth | GV - K.v. Trich | GV - R. Tureck [Satz] | GV - R. Tureck [Lehman] | GV- B. Verlet | GV - A. Vieru | GV - J. Vinikour | GV - A. Weissenberg | GV - Z. Xiao-Mei
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Quodlibet in GV | GV for Strings
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
GV - D..Barenboim | GV - P.J. Belder | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - S. Dinnerstein | GV - R. Egarr | GV - V. Feltsman | GV - C. Frisch | GV - G. Gould | GV - P. Hantaï | GV - R. Holloway | GV - J. Jando | GV - K. Jarrett | GV - G. Leonhardt | GV - V. Makin | GV - A. Newman | GV - S. Ross | GV - A. Schiff | GV - R. Schirmer | GV - H. Small | GV - G. Sultan | GV - G. Toth | GV - R. Tureck | GV - S. Vartolo | GV - B. Verlet
Article:
The Quodlibet as Represented in Bach’s Final Goldberg Variation BWV 988/30 [T. Braatz]


András Schiff: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews:
The New and Improved Goldberg Variations from Andras Schiff
Discussions:
Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Andras Schiff
Articles:
András Schiff/Philharmonia Orchestra: Johann Sebastian Bach, 2000 [by U. Golomb]


Instrumental Works: Recordings, Reviews & Discussions - Main Page | Order of Discussion
Recording Reviews of Instrumental Works: Main Page | Organ | Keyboard | Solo Instrumental | Chamber | Orchestral, MO, AOF
Performers of Instrumental Works: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



 

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Last update: Sunday, June 04, 2017 06:29