I noticed, to some degree of surprise, an unusual amount of recordings, just the last few months, of a monumental work by Bach, namely the "Goldberg Variations". To my greater amazement, I found out that, only the last two years, there have been at least 19 rather easily traceable recordings:
On Piano, 8 recordings : In 2015: Andrea Padova on Stradivarius, Lori Sims on Two Pianists, Tzimon Barto on Capriccio, Lars Vogt on Ondine, while in 2016: Zhu Xiao-Mei on Accentus Music -her second commercial recording-, Marie Rosa Gunter on Genuin and, very recently, Angela Hewitt on Hyperion -her second one too- and the single CD issue of Igor Levitt on Sony.
On the Harpsichord, 5 recordings : In 2015, only one in the marginal and obscure label Vanitas with Andres Alberto Gomez, while, in 2016, we have Pascal Dubreuil on Ramee, Christine Schornsheim on Capriccio (long awaited), Mahan Esfahani on DG and, just now, Ignacio Prego on Glossa.
Apart from all these recordings, we witnessed 6 recordings on other instruments or combination of them on the same work: a) a version for String Orchestra by Dmitry Sitkovetsky on H.M. with Britten Sinfonia (in SACD), b) a version for Marimba (!) and Ensemble on Skarbo, c) another one for Bassoon Consort (eight Bassoons and a Contrabassoon!) on MDG, d) another for the Aulos Quartet (two Oboes, Violin and Cello) on MDG as well, e) one for Organ and Cello with cellist Alexander Kniazev on Exton and very recently f) one for String Trio (La Compagnie Pochette) on Alba.
It's worth mentioning that only the not that known American label Centaur has almost half a dozen Piano recordings in its catalogue, there are more than a dozen recordings of the String Trio or String Orchestra version, about five for accordion (!) as well as for other instruments (Guitar, Harp etc.). I wonder how many people, even avid collectors, need more than one recording on accordion or more than a couple for String Trio. On the other hand, so far I have not managed to trace any recording on any Fortepiano of Bach's time (Cristofori or Silbermann). That would be a missing revelatory addition. The Luca Guglielmi disc "Bach and the Early Pianoforte" (on Piano Classics), using both the Cristofori and Silbermann instruments, was both educational and enlightening.
Just in the same vein, I noticed four recordings, only this very year, of a monumental but very demanding in terms of virtuosity, musical maturity and deep knowledge work of Liszt, i.e. the Transcendental Studies, normally recorded every now and then. So, very recently, we have the wunder Russian youngster Daniil Trifonov on DG, before him the more mature Russian Kirill Gerstein on Myrios (on SACD) and, early this year, we had seen the CDs of Dinara Klinton on Genuin and Goran Filipec on Naxos.
So, how many insights, what kind of revelations, how many new aspects of the same thing can another pianist, harpsichordist or group offer to the average listener/collector? Even avid collectors can hardly find any particular added value to Esfahani's recording and they could possibly live without the new Angela Hewitt's recording. Of course, there are all these younger generations music fans who can always find something intriguing in any new recording, while some old classic recordings will fade away. In any case, in such a saturated field, it is rather futile for any new (or old) star to try hard to prove he/she has to say something that has not already been there...many times already.