Top positive review
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Setting free the soul of the musician. Wonderful
on 27 August 2011
I've always found Bach's Goldberg Variations difficult, no, impossible to listen to with any enjoyment. I've heard the most famous recordings, including Glenn Gould's, and felt put upon by the sheer weight of the music, its complexity, and the difficulty musicians have in playing it.
So, Joanna Macgregor's lightness, speed, tone and above all her consummate understanding are a revelation. Letting Bach breathe, while managing his complications, is a particular challenge in these pieces, and Ms Macgregor does it from the first bars, replacing the tension that comes through most performances with peace. She matches her tone and technique flawlessly to the widely varying demands of each movement, realising each as a distinct work of art that contributes to the whole. It never flags, is never too fast, above all never boring. Bach said he wanted to set free the soul of the musician. This is the result.