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Bach: Goldberg Variations

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 5, 1992)
  • Label: RCA Victor Melodiya
  • ASIN: B000001JD9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,378,425 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have heard several different versions of "Goldberg Variations," including those by Glenn Gould (1955 &1981), Murray Perahia, Rosalyn Tureck, Keith Jarrett, even Jacques Loussier and Uri Caine. Mr. Shemer's recording does not shy in comparison (even to Gould's, and with full consideration of the difference between piano and harpsichord). I would say to achieve a real level of emotional depth on the harpsichord is much more challenging, and Mr. Shemer is up to that challenge. His interpretation is both esoteric and euphoric. Mr. Shemer creates something that is both entirely his own and a real homage to Bach. Bravo
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Format: Audio CD
This a gorgeous version of this difficult and, in my opinion, normally elusive piece. Shemer makes the harpsichord sing, dance, laugh, cry and meditate. Having his instrument tuned to A=392 and recorded in a church certainly helps the contemplative aspect of this work, and the sound is rich and never metallic, as with many versions. If ever there was a case for throwing piano versions into the bin of history, Shemer is your best advocate. He manages to keep the music flowing, both within each variation and between variations, and he makes his musical points in a clear convincing way, unhampered by mannerisms and the awful swaying about that make some versions feel like they were recorded in a raft on the stormy seas; and yet it is subtle and fluid at the same time.
I hope we hear more from this incredible artist soon!
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Format: Audio CD
It takes a brave man to add yet another recording of the Goldberg Variations to the bulging catalogue. While I certainly cannot claim to have sampled too many of the 'competing' versions, David Shemer's does seem to have it all: an improvisatory quality balanced by a strong sense of the music's architecture, all the necessary contrapuntal clarity, both lyricism and verve, rhythmic poise and flexibility – all backed up with complete technical control.
An equal partner with David Shemer and a second hero of the recording is the instrument itself, whose glorious sonority has been beautifully captured – sumptuous yet clear, mellifluous but with plenty of bite when needed.
A major achievement indeed.
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Format: Audio CD
Bach: Goldberg Variations

David Shemer's version of the Goldberg variations is a beautiful one. His playing is delicate, full of colors and nuances, yet powerful and impressive. He brings out a Bach of humor, of pain, of winks and thoughtfulness, and does this in an elegant touch with the most beautiful sound of the harpsichord. I heard his recording many times and never got tired of it, I keep finding in it more ideas and beautiful corners. I very much recommend this recording!
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Format: Audio CD
David Shemer is a leading figure in the Israeli early music scene, both as a harpsichordist (and teacher) and as a conductor; he is, among other things, the founder of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (JBO), Israel’s premier period-instrument ensemble. This recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is the first-ever release on the JBO’s independent record label, and represents an ambitious – and revelatory – inaugural disc.

Shemer offers us one of the most sonically beautiful and texturally transparent versions of the Goldberg Variations. Its beauty arises, in part, from Shemer’s basic “hardware” choices; as he explains in the notes, "The instrument used in this recording – a 2001 harpsichord of Franco-Flemish type by Martin Skowroneck of Bremen – is tuned to a’ = 392 HZ (a whole step below the “modern” a’). This pitch, one of several that were practiced in Bach’s day, gives the instrument a particularly dark, mellow sound".

Shemer also explains that he has chosen “a tuning system that would do full justice to the Goldberg home key, while, at the same time, highlighting the many jarring chromaticisms and dissonances of the g minor variations”. These choices indeed prove highly effective; the basic sound – as captured on this recording, made at Christ Church, Jerusalem – is rich and resonant, yet still allows inner lines to emerge with crystalline clarity. The effect is further enhanced by Shemer’s choice of registration, which reserves the sharper and more strident sonorities available on his chosen instrument to a small number of the more extrovert, virtuosic variations, relying elsewhere on gentler and mellower registers.
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Format: Audio CD
David Shemer's execution of the Goldberg Variations is, perhaps THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THIS WORK that I know of. His deep understanding of the style, its texture, its voice leading, and above all - the affects - results in a brilliant execution, expressive and yet free of any mannerism that we very often hear in baroque performances. In addition, the CD is masterly recorded, with a clear, crisp sound. David Shemer is a great master of the harpsichord and baroque music in general.

Absolutely a masterpiece of performance and recording. Second to none ! It should be in every music lover's library !
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Format: Audio CD
Mr. Shemer's performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations is of the highest caliber, and it is a landmark recording of this ever great masterpiece.
Mr. Shemer's deep, thoughtful and moving interpretation of this immensely demanding piece brings out its richness, monumental scope of diversity and spirituality. He is able to fulfill the artistic potential of every phrase and gesture to the fullest, with the smallest details and nuances, yet without interrupting the long line.
The Goldberg Varations encompasses a vast scale of emotions and character. It is a journey in polyphony - a thorough compendium of close to every contrapuntal process that existed from the Middle Ages till Bach's time and beyond. It contains dance movements, arias, etudes and virtuosic movements, and Mr. Shemer masterfully brings them to life - from beginning to end every note and every phrase sounds fresh and alive, almost improvised.
Recorded at a church in Jerusalem, Mr. Shemer has wonderful tone qualities. Shemer's harpsichord is tuned to A=392, a common practice in Bach's time. It gives a special dark sound and enhances the character and particular relations of the G major scale.
It is a must-have recording for all music lovers, professional and amateurs.
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