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Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Andre Vieru (Piano)

Andre Vieru Records the Goldberg Variations & More

K-3

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variationen

Chorale Setting for 4 voices, BWV 299 [1:49]
Chorale Setting for voice & continuo, BWV 510 [2:04]
Sacred Song for voice & continuo, BWV 511 [1:39]
Sacred Song for voice & continuo, BWV 512 [1:33]
Chorale Prelude for organ, BWV 691 [1:55]
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: Scherzo [0:56]
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827: Burlesca [2:23]
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830: Air [1:23]
Prelude & Fugue No. 1 in C major (WTC I/1), BWV 846 [2:32]
Goldberg Variations BWV 988 [48:50 / 57:59]
March BWV. Anh. 122 [1:14]

Andreï Vieru (Piano)

Harmonia Mundi

Apr 1998

CD / TT: 75:53

2nd recording of Goldberg Variations BWV 988 by A. Vieru. Recorded at Abbaye de Fontevraud, France.
Review: Andre Vieru Records the Goldberg Variations & More
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Donald Satz wrote (May 2, 2001):
It certainly sounds like a great deal. Buy one disc and get the Goldbergs plus almost a dozen selections from the Anna Magdalena Notebook and the fourteen Canons on the eight basic notes of the Goldberg Aria. This is the programming provided by Harmonia Mundi's recent disc featuring pianist Andrei Vieru who is the son of the composer Anatol Vieru. The catalog number is HMC 901666, hand-picked by the Devil himself.

Of course, what sounds good on the surface often fizzles when looked at further. Although this disc has almost 76 minutes of music, only about 52 minutes is devoted to the main composition and Vieru is not the fastest of performers. Therefore, we don't get much in the way of repeats from him. I can live without repeats when the performances are of a very high quality such as with Gilbert, Rose, Leonhardt, or Gould. Lesser artists need all the repeats they can get. The matter for me to address is which category Vieru falls into.

Mr. Vieru is definitely at a very high level of performance and interpretation. I'd say he's a natural in Bach. Every variation strikes at the heart of Bach's music. Vieru does have his quirks including engaging in slowdowns now and then in the slower variations. But it really doesn't matter. Vieru is this music completely. Whatever he does, it works out magnificently. Pick any variation, and the man is living it. His rhythmic pulse and vitality are the best I've heard in any version of the Goldbergs.

Verlet, Gilbert, Koroliov, Hantai, Perahia, Hewitt, and a few others give excellent performances of the Goldberg Variations. Andrei Vieru's performances are better than theirs, and I believe they rival the Gould and Tureck recordings. I could run through each variation and rave about each of them, but I'd rather listen than write.

Concerning the other tracks on the disc, be assured that Vieru brings the same command of Bach's idiom to these pieces as well. I really love the depth he gives the chorals from the Anna Magdalena Notebook.

Important Sound Consideration - This review almost ended up being much less complimentary. With audio controls at the usual levels, I found Vieru's right hand playing to be rather flat and subservient to the left hand. At some point I boosted the treble way up (bass up a little) and his right hand and the music in general came amazingly to life. I've never noticed such as difference in a recording before. Reviews have not been the kindest, and I wonder if those reviewers made the necessary adjustments to listen to the real Vieru.

Don's Conclusions: I praised a recent Bach recital recording by Celine Frisch on Harmonia Mundi. This same label has another superb young Bach performer in Andrei Vieru whose Goldbergs Variations is one of the very best. I also recently praised a set from Karl Richter having the Goldberg Variations and Partitas for Harpsichord. Good times must be here again. If you feel any connection with my general preferences, you must have the Vieru recording as well as the Richter and Frisch.

 

Feedback to the Review

Laurentiu Cristofor wrote (May 3, 2001):
[To Donald Satz] I haven't had the ocasion to listen to his Harmonia Mundi recording but I remember listening to an older live recording of his that was issued on an Electrecord LP. That was my first introduction to the Goldbergs and I remember liking it a lot. So far Electrecord doesn't seem to have issued it on CD but I still hope.

For Harmonia Mundi Andrei Vieru has also recorded the Diabelli Variations. He was a student of Dan Grigore, with whom he recorded "Le Sacre du Printemps" for Two Pianos, again for Harmonia Mundi (paired with Pictures at an Exibition).

More information about him and his CD recordings can be found at: http://www.harmoniamundi.com/featured_artist.asp?Artist=167

 

Goldberg Variations BWV 988: Details
Recordings:
Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Quodlibet in GV | GV for Strings
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
GV - Barenboim | GV - P.J. Belder | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - Egarr | GV - Feltsman | GV - C. Frisch | GV - Gould | GV - Hantaï | GV - R. Holloway | GV - J. Jando | GV - Jarrett | GV - Leonhardt | GV - V. Makin | GV - A. Newman | GV - S. Ross | GV Schiff | GV - R. Schirmer | GV - H. Small | GV - G. Sultan | GV - G. Toth | GV - Tureck | GV - Vartolo | GV - Verlet
Review: Goldberg Variations on Piano:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
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 - Cole | GV - Crossland | GV - Dershavina | GV - Egarr [Lehman] | GV - Egarr [Satz] | GV - Egarr [Bright] | GV- Hantai | GV – Hantaï (2nd) | GV - Haugsand | GV - Hewitt | GV - Holloway | GV- Ingolfsdottir | GV - Jando | GV - Leonhardt | GV- Lifschitz | GV - Newman | GV - Nikolayeva 3rd | GV- Payne | GV - Schepkin, Yudina & Serkin | GV - Schiff [ECM] | GV- Small | GV - Suzuki | GV - Toth | GV - Trich | GV - Tureck (Satz) | GV - Tureck (Lehman) | GV- Verlet | GV - Vieru | GV - Vinikour | GV - Weissenberg | GV - Zhu
Article:
The Quodlibet as Represented in Bach’s Final Goldberg Variation BWV 988/30 [by Thomas Braatz]

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Last update: żOctober 16, 2006 ż12:53:34