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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
19
Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$40.09+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on November 4, 2017
How many recordings of this do I have? Many, many. This is my latest, purchased after attending a Schiff recital. On the plus side: Schiff is certainly capable of fireworks in the virtuoso variations, he maintains excellent rhythmic steadiness, has clear articulation (up there in Yu-Ja Wang territory), has a decent dance-lilt where needed, and plays with devotion that is sans syrup. On the negative side, all of his fast tempos are equally fast--no variation here at all--, could use still more dance-lilt, the mic-ing is, as another reviewer has mentioned, a little distant (I like my Bach keyboard recordings more closely mic-ed), and I was impressed more often than I was moved. He takes all repeats. Four stars from me.
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on July 11, 2013
I whole-heartedly recommend this recording to anyone who isn't so bogged down by early music dogma that they are unable to appreciate Schiff's nuance and musicality. The performance captured on this disc is live and in concert, so it isn't perfect, but that hardly matters because it only makes the experience of listening to it that much more real, more authentic (as opposed to some phony studio album with obvious splices and other fancy editing). At this point in my own musical career I am far more interested in hearing music that is engaging and personal, as opposed to that which is "perfect" or "historically informed," but also cold and sterile.

I also own Schiff's 1982 recording for Decca and love to compare the two in terms of tempos, articulations, dynamics, etc. There are differences, though I'm not sure which I prefer, which probably means that they both bring out unique aspects of the music and are worth spending time with.
4 people found this helpful
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on September 9, 2015
Xlnt sound quality and performance. IMO much better than his earlier Decca recording.
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on January 29, 2014
Schiff plays the variations with elegance, exactly as Goldberg would have liked to hear them. If you are not so comfortable with the famous Gould interpretation and ashamed to admit it, go for this one. a shear pleasure.
3 people found this helpful
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on March 26, 2015
Always a delight to hear Schiff interpret Bach
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on March 16, 2014
Great recordings of the Goldberg Variations by Andras Schiff. I was inspired to purchase the CD after listening to Teri Gross's interview with the pianist.
2 people found this helpful
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on June 14, 2014
This recording (live) is much more moving that Schiff's earlier version on Decca. At least two professional players (one piano and one harpsichord) put this recording at the top of the list (after theirs, of course).
One person found this helpful
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on December 10, 2016
satisfactory
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on December 2, 2014
Very nice
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András Schiff is able to make even those who have Bach's glorious GOLDBERG VARIATIONS memorized from numerous other recordings (or having been able to play these extraordinary variations on their own) hear them afresh. Schiff's approach is so intimate, beginning with the statement of the original aria through all the variations until the aria is once again allowed to sing alone, that he makes us feel as though he were sitting at the keyboard in a room occupied only by the artist with us as the only guest. This is transparent Bach, every phrase and variation stated with such clarity and beauty that the fact that these variations are technically difficult is simply submerged in the quality of music that flows from Schiff's hands and heart.

Works as important in music history and in the hallowed place in the heart of millions in the centuries since it was composed are bound to have strong opinions about performance - whether the work should even be played on the piano as opposed to the harpsichord, whether what Glenn Gould attached to these variations are valid or no, etc - and that is unavoidable. What András Schiff accomplishes in this recording is that touch with transcendence that makes all other arguments fade. Yes, there are many superb performances of this work and a legion of recordings that are exceptional, but returning to the very origin - the aria on which the work is based - played in the way Schiff caresses it without smothering it in either sentiment or academia, gives ample proof that the following variations of that little miracle aria will satisfy the way Bach wished them to satisfy. No matter how many recordings you may have of this work, expand your appreciation of it with András Schiff. Grady Harp, July 10
11 people found this helpful
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