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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of some brilliant recordings
I own 6 versions of the Goldberg Variations and this is the one I listen to now - it is about as perfect a combination of technique and inspiration as anyone could ever create - it is another step forward from Murray's other Bach recordings, themselves oustanding - even those hooked on Glen Gould will go for this one
Published on 22 July 2001

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Perahia's best
For a while this was my favourite recording of the Goldberg Variations, but the more I listened to other recordings, the less convinced I became. Perahia plays the notes with absolute clarity, as you'd expect from his wonderful technique, but in my view misses some of the fun in the music, as well as the differentiation between the variations. When I listened to Andras...
Published on 31 Aug 2011 by Elpenor


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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of some brilliant recordings, 22 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
I own 6 versions of the Goldberg Variations and this is the one I listen to now - it is about as perfect a combination of technique and inspiration as anyone could ever create - it is another step forward from Murray's other Bach recordings, themselves oustanding - even those hooked on Glen Gould will go for this one
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sublime performance and recording - but not necessarily a "safe" recommendation, 15 Jan 2011
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
A while back I did some intensive comparative listening to various recordings of the Goldbergs in the company of a professional musician/composer/keyboard performer friend. I wanted to try to ensure that the perceptions of my educated but essentially amateur ears were tempered by measurement against a more rigorous and informed judgment. Reassuringly, our conclusions were remarkably similar: we agreed that this performance was our clear favourite alongside the more idiosyncratic interpretations of Glenn Gould. However, both Gould's recordings - the marvellously frenetic and unstuffy 1955 version and the more reposeful and even mystical account from 1981 - might perhaps be considered more as fancy-dress for party-going rather than everyday wear and as much as I would not want to be without either of those life-affirming discs, Perahia's account is the one to live with.

The Goldbergs are one of those Mt Bach peaks in a range of solo instrument mountains: the Cello Suites, the Well-tempered Clavier and the Violin Sonatas and Partitas. Responses to them and opinions concerning how they should be performed are necessarily personal but I find it hard to accept that a product of the Baroque, an artistic movement characterised by emotional extremes and excess, should require a performer to play safe and avoid "Romantic" touches. Bach evidently expected exponents of his music to elaborate and embellish the repeats, making judicious use of decoration and rubato - both within the bar and within the phrase - to enliven them. Perahia extends these variations to 75 minutes by observation of those repeats and it would be absurd if he did not invest them with a variety and colour which some period purists apparently find objectionable.

We agreed in our listening session that Schiff was, well, just plain dull and correct. High-priestess Rosalyn Tureck was just that: hieratic and self-conscious in the ritualised way she plays. Neither celebrated artist brings the same joie de vivre evinced by Gould and Perahia; their reverential interpretations are for the listener the equivalent of viewing the Goldbergs as a museum piece through a glass case rather than experiencing the music as a thrilling spritual journey which ends in the repose of the transcendent "still point" provided by Bach's return to the arietta with which he opened the work.

The sound engineering is the finest for a piano recording that I know. Some reviewers complain that we can hear Perahia's fingernails clicking on the keys, which I take more to be testament to the clarity of the recording. I have news for them: people have fingernails, pianists are people - live with it. Next they'll be complaining about singers' breathing.

No; Perahia's interpretation is not "safe"; it's life-enhancing, from his filigree prestidigitation in fast movements, to the wise and humane contemplation in the "Black Pearl" variation, to the grace of his phrasing and the subtlety of his pedalling, this is a clear first recommendation.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply staggering, 24 May 2002
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
I bought this after hearing an extract on the radio. I already had the Glen Gould recording and had enjoyed it but not really listened to it very often. When I got my hands on the Murray Perahia recording I think I must have listened to it every day for three weeks. Perahia acheives wonderful clarity and precision. Listening to him play this wonderful music is pure pleasure. Certainly my favourite Bach recording and one of my all-time favourite recordings of any kind.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten stars, 27 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
I always felt that I was missing the point in these variations. Intellectually challenging, brilliantly constructed but not much fun to listen to.
Thus I was stunned by this CD. Perahia's English Suites were wonderful but this is the most enjoyable Goldberg on CD. I hesitate to call it the greatest, there are lots of other very valid views of this piece but fine (and amazingly different) as Gould and Rousset are I doubt that I shall be listening to them very often .
For me Perahia has opened up a magic casement and I want him to keep on recording Bach- Partitas please
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise distilled, 10 May 2006
By 
jglush (Bristol, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
I love the Goldbergs, but never really heard them (and that includes the incomparable Gould) until I heard this. You will never tire of it. One problem: you cannot ignore it when it's on, so don't plan to listen while doing anything else!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golden Goldberg, 24 Sep 2003
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
I have to say that for me, there is J S Bach, and then there is every other composer. When I play my viola for recreation, the only composer I play is J S Bach. The point is that I am a serious admirer of Bach, and have some first-hand experience of how his music works. This album is one of the best examples I have encountered of his non-organ keyboard music being played with the exact balance of heart, soul, and intellect which J S Bach demands. Anyone who complains that J S is to cerebral should listen to this interpretation. Highly recommended. If you enjoy this, try the Deutsche Grammephone Gesellshaft recording of the Bach Suites for Cello Solo performed by Pierre Fournier.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Goldbergs, 22 Feb 2012
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
This is an excellent interpretation of The Goldberg Variations. Murray Perahia is one of the truly great pianists of his generation and his Mozart in particular is quite brilliant. I have not always been wholly convinced by some of his Bach recordings, but this is a wonderful disc. His technical perfection means that the lines blend beautifully while remaining crystal clear, he has a real affinity with and understanding of the music, and he makes his piano sing with a marvellous sweetness in all the right places.

At this level of technique and musicianship it is a matter of personal taste which version one likes best - a choice of tempo, perhaps, a nuance of rubato or a subtle difference in ornamentation, for example, may make one version speak to you a little more personally than another. For what it's worth, my favourite remains - just - Angela Hewitt's recording for Hyperion Bach: Goldberg Variations, but if I were cast away on a Desert Island with only Perahia's version I would still be very happy.

In short, this is a superb interpretation with excellent recorded sound, attractive packaging and interesting notes. I really don't think you can go wrong with this disc and I recommend it very warmly.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, LIFE-AFFIRMING, 23 Jan 2009
By 
J. Woodman (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
Once again, my thanks to the reviewers who have led me to purchase this. I've come late to the piano and to Bach. After mixed feelings about Glenn Gould, I found Perahia and I feel as if I have come home. The sheer intelligence and technical excellence of the playing are absolutely wonderful. Listening to this it is possible to feel, however briefly, that there is some purpose to it all. I cannot believe that anyone would not be a better person for listening to this.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murray is magical, 6 Jan 2002
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
The previous reviewers of this work are spot on - I am a new listener to classical music and was guided toward Murray Perahia's Goldberg variations by my grandfather. I find myself listening to it again and again to sample the flow and clarity of the notes one more time. Fantastic!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary !!, 16 Jun 2010
By 
Fruchstuck (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
Perahia is by far one the very best of his generation, and this interpretation brings light to the Goldbergs. And the recording is of outstanding quality, a must have.
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Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach (Audio CD - 2000)
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