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J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations (CD+DVD)
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Note: Disc 1 is a CD and Disc 2 is a DVD and would only play in compatible players.
Top Customer Reviews
Having around 20 versions of the Goldbergs in my collection, I was not expecting to be quite so bowled over as I have been. The CD presents one of the most engaging and involving performances of this evergreen work I have ever heard. The dancing bass-line almost achieves a life of its own, while at the same time being perfectly integrated into the whole. This is truly joyful music-making which can hardly fail to engage all who care deeply about music. To take a single example, the breathtaking rhythmic complexity of the exciting 20th variation can scarcely ever have been more deftly realised.
Before I heard Denk, Perahia's recording was probably my favourite. While Perahia aimed for, and achieved, the most beautiful sound, I think Denk's first priority is to show Bach's stunning originality and ingenuity - which he does, with the most incredible finger-work and comittment. Given that Bach wrote the work for a two-manual harpsichord, its translation to a single piano keyboard involves considerable dexterity of fingerwork. Gould had that too: but, for me, he achieved it at some cost to the humanity of the music. Denk manages to combine the best of both approaches, and then some!
The accompanying DVD presents the performer as an erudite, insightful commentator on this endlessly fascinating work and its performance.Read more ›
What I like about him is that he strikes a good balance between the frenzied runaway train that was Gould and the unhurried, smooth sailing of, say, Schiff. Instead he takes the middle course. The 6th and 21st variation are especially appetizing as models of careful construction. Denk also sounds like he is at peace playing the Goldberg's, unaffected by their lofty reputation and at ease with their details. Basically he gives us an honest, clean, sparking and effortless rendition of a beloved piece of music. At the same time he does put his own spin on some of the notes, unlike say Perahia whose performance is "too safe". Notes which are played sotto voce in some other versions are often accentuated in Denk's interpretation.
My wife who is not a classical music fan by any means actually took to this piece even as I played it all the way on a drive through the night. The shadows cast by the trees and the stillness of the countryside added a special appeal to the notes. The variations spoke to us like voices illuminating the darkness. I have always thought that the Goldbergs are best appreciated on a quiet drive through the snow at night. In this CD Denk has certainly emerged as an original and pleasant companion in the stillness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In addition to an artistic and sensitive performance, the additional DVD with notes and commentary are extremely valuable.Published 1 month ago by Olivia J. Quist
I am not particularly familiar with this music, but having listened to the famous Glenn Gould recordings, and being unable to cope with his grunting and meanings, I purchased this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert B. Lamm
Another fine Jeremy Denk recording. I had the good fortune to hear him play this music in concert. The recording lives up to his live performance. Both are first rate.Published 4 months ago by Critic at large
I have many versions of Bach's variations. I find the music mesmerizing. With each new recording I keep thinking surely this will be enough. And then I'm proved wrong again. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bert Kleinkauf
Very different in character from the Glenn Gould performances, but quite breathtakingly beautiful. Gentle--and clear and elegant in its interpretation.Published 7 months ago by Aunty Diluvian
Denk played with our symphony orchestra a month or so ago and THEN did an encore of the 13th Goldberg variation. Read morePublished 11 months ago by glass gardener