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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant performance and fascinating commentary,
For the cost of a mid-price CD, one here gets a complete performance of the Goldberg Variations (including all repeats) on one disc, and a DVD including liner-notes in the form of a series of informative, illustrated talks on the work by the performer.
Having around 20 versions of the Goldbergs in my collection, I was not expecting to be quite so bowled over as I have been. The CD presents one of the most engaging and involving performances of this evergreen work I have ever heard. The dancing bass-line almost achieves a life of its own, while at the same time being perfectly integrated into the whole. This is truly joyful music-making which can hardly fail to engage all who care deeply about music. To take a single example, the breathtaking rhythmic complexity of the exciting 20th variation can scarcely ever have been more deftly realised.
Before I heard Denk, Perahia's recording was probably my favourite. While Perahia aimed for, and achieved, the most beautiful sound, I think Denk's first priority is to show Bach's stunning originality and ingenuity - which he does, with the most incredible finger-work and comittment. Given that Bach wrote the work for a two-manual harpsichord, its translation to a single piano keyboard involves considerable dexterity of fingerwork. Gould had that too: but, for me, he achieved it at some cost to the humanity of the music. Denk manages to combine the best of both approaches, and then some!
The accompanying DVD presents the performer as an erudite, insightful commentator on this endlessly fascinating work and its performance. It is an object lesson in how to educate, involve and capture the imagination of the listener. This must surely become the reference-version for our generation. My only reservation is with the flimsy packaging provided by Nonesuch. But even taking that into consideration, this issue fully merits five stars: I would like to give it six! The music, its performance and presentation is truly a thing of beauty, and will become a joy forever.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it.,
I have both Glen Gould recordings and Murray Perahia's which I thought was probably enough for most people. However Jeremy Denk's recording is a welcome addition. It is fluent and expressive and while a 'classical' interpretation, still manages to add colour and emphasis in just the right quantity to bring out phrases which sound fresh and original. Well recorded, too.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh take,
He has increased my enjoyment of this music with this brilliant interpretation. I would recommend it, probably so would Bach.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Goldbergs!,
I have heard a number of recordings of the Goldberg variations by various artists.
This is superior for the clarity of recording, but also the informative and engaging bonus dvd of Denks liner notes and insights into Bach's techniques, humour and sublime sense of harmony.
I would and have recommended this recording to anyone who shares a passion for great music.
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldberg,
Excellent playing and recording. The highlight is perhaps the DVD which gives very interesting insights into the variations, composer and pianist
5.0 out of 5 stars Precision, colour ans sensitivity,
In my view a remarkable pianist who interprets Bach extremely well. An Excellent clear recording with the correct depth of tone.
4.0 out of 5 stars I found that Bach was played as though the pianist ...,
I found that Bach was played as though the pianist himself became immersed in another time and celebrated
our glorious inheritance of an invincible marriage between composer's mind and imagination within the hidden order of the world around us.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - but the included DVD makes it even better!,
This is a lovely performance of the Goldbergs, well worth hearing and having alongside the arguably slightly superior Hewitt and Perahia versions (my views, of course, opinions differ!).
BUT, the unarguable reason this is unique is in the accompanying "Liner Notes", in the form of a DVD (not, unfortunately, at 2013, transcribed into amazon cloud if you buy the physical package) with over 50 minutes of video. Illustrating continually at the piano, Denk gives a loving commentary on aspects of the Goldbergs that is light and profound, approachable and erudite, humorous but deeply serious. It seems to me equally valuable for an early stage exploration of Bach, or for someone really familiar with this particular work. He caps it off, movingly, with links into the variation movements in last three Beethoven piano sonatas.
Whether you're a Goldberg aficionado, or someone who thinks they just might like to listen to a bit more Bach (beyond the "top pops"), I can't recommend this highly enough. Would give a sixth star if I could. Thank you, Jeremy Denk, for this generous product.
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J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations (Audio Only Version) by Jeremy Denk
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