Do we need another "Goldberg Variations"?

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I have been listening to

I have been listening to Kempff’s recording, not too closely, just as I did things round the house. The aria is a shocker. After that things go back to normal and I have liked what i’ve heard. I’ll give it another closer hearing.

 

I ordered The Goldberg Variations by Peter Williams, as a little treat to myself, to follow along in the next days. As a reference for those interested in the score he recommends as the most authoritative Christoph Wolff, 1977 Neue Bach-Ausgabe vol.V/2, which uses the Bach’s annotated and corrected printed copy discovered in 1977, already mentioned by Chris.

camaron wrote:

camaron wrote:

I ordered The Goldberg Variations by Peter Williams, as a little treat to myself, to follow along in the next days. As a reference for those interested in the score he recommends as the most authoritative Christoph Wolff, 1977 Neue Bach-Ausgabe vol.V/2, which uses the Bach’s annotated and corrected printed copy discovered in 1977, already mentioned by Chris.

 

Camaron, I'm sure the Wolff BGA edition is authoritative, but all those BGA editions are very expensive.  The Henle that I've just got was first published in 1973 but the revised 1978 edition incorporates the information from Bach's annotated copy, and lists these in an appendix.  That should be enough for most people, I guess. The two most interesting snippets are tempo markings for two variations; No.7 (al tempo di Giga) and No.25 (Adagio).

I'll be interested to hear your full report on Kempff!

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

Hohe Messe in b-minor

Been following your conservation and been learning a great deal from it. Please carry on.

To bring it to a lower level no one here has referred to Keith Jarrett-jazz pianist- who recorded the Goldberg Variations on harpsichord. Anyone know it?

 

Now, the Hohe Messe in b-minor, I guess this is BWV 232.

We heard it played live a week ago in the New Church in the Dutch city of Groningen. It was with single soloists, carefully chosen solo instrumentalists, and a small choir (30?), and the male alt-counter tenor- was suberb.

Was not top notch perhaps, combination of amateurs, semi-profs and profs, but as a live performance in a church was a tremendous experience. And it was free! One was expected to make a contribution of 10 euros to the collection boxes when leaving the church. Was well worth every cent. When we came home we said to each other that we did not need to hear any recorded music that evening. The service started at 17.00 and we were home about 19.30. Was a delightful evening. Cannot beat live performance to warm the spirit whatever the quality of our HIFI equipment.

Please proceed!!!

 

Not for me to start

Not for me to start discussing score editions Chris. I just gave the information away in case it is of any use to anyone. If you tell me that Henle’s is good enough I’m a hundred percent sure it is true!

 

I will comment further on Kempff. For now I’m hugely enjoying Kenneth Gilbert’s version. It is very, very good!! You know the feeling…. you start playing it, just a few variations, and once it starts you cannot stop!

 

Socrates. I don’t know Jarret’s version. I have a very vague recollection of his WTC. That I liked things about it but didn’t stand out.

Chris, at some point you are going to have to start off with a dedicated thread….

Tomorrow!

Tomorrow!

Chris A.Gnostic

camaron wrote:

camaron wrote:

For now I’m hugely enjoying Kenneth Gilbert’s version. It is very, very good!! You know the feeling…. you start playing it, just a few variations, and once it starts you cannot stop!

Agreed about the Gilbert. It is, in fact, the only harpsichord version I listen to on a regular basis. It was also my introduction to the work. A friend gave it to me on the last day of university. Here, have this, I'm off.........Otherwise, it was headed for the bin. God knows why they didn't take it with them. I never saw them again to ask. It remained my only version for about ten years. Then someone at work lent me the 1981 Gould......... 

You’ve actually surprised me

You’ve actually surprised me Jane! I never thought you would’ve discovered and loved the Goldberg on the harpsichord. We fully agree on Gilbert. In general I do struggle with the harpsichord in works I’ve come to know on the piano: sometimes the sound of the instrument, but other times I must admit some harpsichord players I find irritating. They do all this soft of little tempo fluctuations, I don’t know, I guess from French influence. Gilbert doesn't, Leonhardt doesn’t, but some others do. I hope we’ll have time to look at all these things and more...

Keith Jarrett's Goldberg.

Socrates, I used to have the Jarrett's Goldberg on LP, when it was first released. I have a good recollection of the very clean reading of the score and the impressive (for LP) recording of ECM. However, he lacked the authority of a Kirkpatrick or Richter or Leonhardt. Fortunately, he was restrained in his personal choices, so that he never sounded (at least to me) as an eccentric or disrespectful towards the composer he was supposed to serve. It is impressive (anyway) that a (great) Jazz pianist is so keen on a...Harpsichord.

Not an essential recording but rewarding for those who might wish to give a shot.

Parla

Integrity versus coherence (if you cannot have them both).

Chris, I would like to know what is so exciting about Kempff's reading of this work. He sounds too Romantic and almost detached (at least to me) that, even if he was such a poet of his instrument), he betrays the integrity of the work, even if you may argue that this is a very coherent performance.

The fact that you found "logical" to perform the repeats of only the first halves of the variations but the canons (however, still he makes the "necessary" exceptions for the Aria, the French Overture and the Var. 25)  does not escape from the fact that, still, this is an arbitrary decision with little consistency and even certain degree of lack of authority towards the source and even the essence of the work. As I mentioned in a previous post, the playing of some repeats may easily lead to the worst of both worlds (repeats or no repeats).

Anyway, I am interested to see your more elaborated comments on this mater.

Parla

The Goldberg Variations on Fortepiano...eventually.

Eventually, I managed to trace and obtain the apparently only recording of the Goldbergs on Fortepiano. It is a very rare one, recorded on April-May 2007, by the Austrian fortepianist Walter Riemer, on a very marginal and obscure recording label called NF-Audio.

This recording is quite interesting and, from some points of view, one of a kind. It is significant by virtue of the very special instrument used, namely a reproduction of an original Fortepiano built by Andreas Stein in 1773. It is a very delicate but also with solid sound instrument, maybe the closest to Bach's time, where the Silberman ones (of around 1750) sound a bit weaker and less refined as for the actual sound they produced.

The playing of Riemer is quite fascinating, exciting and as idiomatic as possible, while the recording is good enough but the overall production is simply adequate. He opted for a few selective repeats, while he plays the second section of the Variations rather faster than the first ones. The total timing reaches the 51 minutes and the CD includes, as a fill-up, four Inventions and six Sinfonias.

For those who might be interested or are curious enough, give a shot to this unique disc. I'm afraid that it might not be available for streaming, but it exists in youtube (although the sound is misleading). 

Walter Riemer has also recorded the Art of Fugue on Fortepiano as well. It was his first endeavour that lead him to record afterwards the Goldbergs.

Parla

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