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Bach: Goldberg Variations Import

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 9, 2010
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$21.85 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Andreas Staier waited nearly a quarter of a century before playing the Goldberg Variations in public. His long-awaited first performance was in Montreal at the end of April 2000, and this new set for harmonia mundi is his first recording of Bach s keyboard masterpiece. Undoubtedly one of the most prominent harpsichord and fortepiano performers in the world, Staier embarked upon a solo career in 1986 after leaving the acclaimed ensemble Musica Antiqua Köln. Since then, his indisputable musical mastery as a soloist has made its mark on the interpretation of baroque, classical and romantic repertoire. His extensive discography has garnered top critical awards from the international press. Staier says of the Goldbergs, Bach used the possibilities offered by the instrument s double keyboard. The work is totally suited to the harpsichord, whereas trying to play it on the piano is like attempting to square the circle.

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Conductor: none
  • Composer: Bach
  • Audio CD (March 9, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B003064CWI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,818 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark Haxthausen on March 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I, too, have eagerly awaited this recording. I discovered Staier a few years ago, and have become an enthusiastic collector of his recordings. I especially admire his historical knowledge of performance practice, and his belief that instrumental color is an integral part of the music, so that from Bach and Scarlatti through Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, he chooses keyboard instruments that convey the sonority of the period. In this case he plays the Goldbergs on a modern copy of a 1734 harpsichord by the Hamburg maker Albrecht Hass, which he has used in two previous recordings.

Unlike the previous two reviewers I find this a stunning performance and recording (the ninth I own of the piece, six on piano and three on harpsichord, including the one by Rousset mentioned by a previous reviewer). I emphatically do not share his negative opinion of the recording or of the performance. Perhaps it is a matter of one's sound equipment, but, while the CD is indeed closely miked, I find this one of the most gorgeous-sounding harpsichord recordings I have ever heard. For me over an hour of harpsichord music can sometimes become unpleasantly clangorous, monotonous, and fatiguing, but not in this case, not with the wonderful variety of colors Staier draws from this instrument (just as he does in his fortepiano recordings, making his Haydn and Mozart performances so delightful and revelatory). This is a recording that has both presence and atmosphere; this harpsichord SOUNDS like a palpable three-dimensional object in space--and I am listening through only two speakers.

Using a second CD player, I compared a number of tracks by Rousset and Staier back to back, and consistently preferred Staier.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Oldnslow on April 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This recording will surely raise controversy, and already has. It is a big-boned reading, played on a rather unusual harpsichord, with some stops kinda like an organ, allowing Staier to produce some usual voicings for some of the variations. The recording quality of this performance is very close up, making it difficult to hear clearly some of the faster variations. Nevertheless, I find this to be a fascinating performance, and it is almost like a throwback (and update) of a Wanda Landowska performance. Staier has put a lot of thought, intelligence, and flair into his reading of this great piece, which can seemingly tolerate an unending number of approaches and instruments and still remain a masterpiece. While not a first choice (I suppose Hantai on harpsichchord on Opus 111 and Perahia on piano would be my modern favorites) this offers a very interesting alternative for those with an open mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A.M.Y. on October 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have no idea what the real complaints of those listeners who gave this recording less than 5 stars. This is one of the best, if not the best, of all the Goldberg Variations. I own several performances, on the modern piano (including Glenn Gould's), on a fortepiano, and on the harpsichord. This the best sounding performance I have. I have no problem with the recording. True, it is a little loud and bright; but lower the volume and enjoy it. The performance is very smooth, even at the rough edges of the piece; it is technically perfect; and full of restrained passion. Exactly what you expect a Bach work to sound. The work itself is a masterpiece of the late Baroque period. It is also beautiful. Staier's playing brings the best about this work, and it is supposed to be as close to its original performances as possible. There is an accompanying DVD that is also very informative. Buy it without hesitation. It is worth every penny.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Ringer on April 5, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is easily Staier's most satisfying performance of Bach on disc. The Haas copy is a gorgeous, robust instrument which opens many registrational possibilities unavailable on more chastely concieved instruments. It's like listening to a modern Kirkpatrick or Valenti in terms of the Haas' greater coloristic range: and such playing was both possible and likely in Bach's day. Staier's Bach is appropriately masaculine and dynamic without shortchanging the work's profoundly ruminative moments. Staier's tempi are sometimes unconventionally slowish, allowing the listener to relish passage work that many players leave blurred. At the end of the 80 minute disc one feels, as one should, that a universe of emotional and intellectual speculation has been traversed. The recording quality is excellent. The accompanying DVD interview is interesting. Only Ketil Haugsand and Bob van Asperen offer equally compelling recent versions on historic instruments or authentic copies.
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