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on 23 August 2011
I got to know the Goldberg Variations through Murray Perahia's recording and immediately loved it. I didn't think I'd find a recording to displace my allegiance for the Perahia, but this is it. Schiff to me sounds jazzier, with his lively tempi and use of ornaments, and more daring than Perahia in that sense. I'm convinced that the best recordings of the Goldberg Variations are the ones that don't try too hard to be profound, and this fits the bill perfectly. I also slightly prefer this one to Schiff's quite good live account on ECM. Sometimes Schiff can be a bit too pedantic in his playing, but in this case it is utterly joyous.
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on 27 April 2011
Maestro Schiff is a truly fine pianist. Quite often I listen to his recording of Beethoven's Sonatas for Cello & Piano with cellist M. Perényi - a unique musical experience by any standard. There is not and there cannot be a better performance of the Sonatas, because for that recording both artists were deeply inspired, and it shows. As for the Goldberg Variations, well I expected much more from maestro Schiff and from Decca itself. Could we blame Schiff's Bösendorfer for the sound quality? I don't know, but this rendition with peculiar ornamentations does not ignite me. The Goldbergs here are neatly performed, but without soul. The sound quality is far from perfect. This said, I must admit that I prefer Tatiana Nikolayeva's account, although also here there's something wrong with the sound quality. Perahia's rendition leaves me cold. If you happen to like Glenn Gould's artistry, then I can stop here and advise you to get both of his recordings - the youthful 1955 and the autumnal 1981. Glenn Gould was Bach's interpreter par excellence. For a real collector I also recommend Wanda Landowska. Hers is the first recorded performance of the variations. Her playing is not flawless and the sound quality is quite acceptable taking into account that the recording dates back to 1933. Enjoy the Goldbergs.
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on 28 January 2011
Whilst I do admire some of Schiff's playing - and certainly admire him for this Bach project - I found this recording reeked of 'ego'. There was somehow no real connection 'with' the music - he plays the notes neatly, but there is always a sense of slight superficiality, something not usually associated with Schiff. It is also incredibly florid playing: why, I ask myself, can he not simply portray the music/notes as written? He always interferes with the lines and over-ornaments, something that then disturbs not only Bach's purity, but also the overall flow of the music and rhythm. Whilst some of the passage-work comes off with a true sparkle, I feel that the sound Schiff actually makes at the piano is not intense enough. Yes, this is a good antidote to, say, Gould, and it's a heck of a lot better than most of the Goldbergs out there, but, in real terms, it doesn't exactly hit the mark.
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on 17 September 2015
Although not quite as mature as his latest performance at the BBC Proms, it still
provides unexpected insights into this well-known work, and shows what a fantastic
musician Bach remains.
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on 30 October 2015
Very good. I have always admired this pianist and love his interpretation of the Goldberg Variations
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on 10 January 2016
One of the best recordings of T.G.V.
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