23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2006
"Gramophone" went totally mad about Murray Perahia's "Goldberg Variations" and rightly so; it really is a tremendous accomplishment. The genesis behind it (if I'm correct) is fascinating : Perahia had (and I believe still has) a recurring problem in one of his hands that needed a number of operations. During this time, when he clearly couldn't play (torture!), he listened extensively to the works of Bach and in particular the "Goldbergs". I like the idea of Perahia finding serenity in the fractal geometry of Baroque counterepoint. When he was better he returned to the piano and he produced a number of Bach recordings of which this was one. Every bar declares Perahia's wonderful, keen intelligence, his exquisite filigree touch and the obvious joy that he felt at playing this work. I also think that the sound engineering on this CD is superb : not too much reverb but not too dead either. Sony did a great job.
Having listened to quite a few recordings of the "Goldbergs" I would say that I would put Perahia and Angela Hewitt at the top. Like all great musicians they can add an extra dimension that isn't derived from technical ability : it's just sheer innate talent. I also don't subscribe to the Daniel Barenboim "play Bach like Brahms" school of thought (although Barenboim is of course a wonderful pianist); for me, Bach only really weaves his tessellated magic when the right touch is applied. Perahia and Hewitt have that touch.
A wonderful recording.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2013
Without hesitation, this would be one of my "desert island discs", and is now the only Goldberg that I turn to in my collection. Lyricism, clarity, wit and a seemingly-effortless virtuosity combine to make a performance that is truly spellbinding, and with an evident weight of intellect behind it. To know that the pianist conquered a career-threating hand injury in producing this recording only increases its power to move the listener. I particularly love the way that the repeats are executed with their added ornamentation, executed with a deftness of touch that I can do nothing but marvel at. The sound engineering is likewise flawless. It would be fair to say that the Goldberg Variations became a new work for me on the day that I bought this recording.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2013
Murray Perahia's performance of the Goldberg Variations is smooth and sophisticated, always musical and an absolute joy to listen to. There is more music in just one bar of Bach's Goldberg Variations than in a whole movement of many other well loved composers - I play this disc endlessly and never tire of it. It's a personal choice, but the "authentic sound " of the harpsichord on other recordings, to my mind, does not convey the long singing phrases that this music has to offer and I am sure J S Bach would have delighted in the sonorous sound of the modern piano and the singing quality of Perahia's superb playing.