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Thread: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

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    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    For anyone wanting a freebie Goldberg, naxos.com has one this month. You have to sign up for the newsletter. It is far from a bad version. Middle of the road I would say.
    51gsLb7bl6L._SY355_.jpg

  2. #107
    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    At the present I have several recordings of this work. Of course the obligatory Gould 1955 recording which I enjoy despite the deranged goat noises sometimes in the background. The above post is my newest acquisition, which was a freebie. I am awaiting a CD I picked up for a few $$ of Dinnerstein's account from a few years ago, I have heard it already and it impressed me enough to pick up a copy. I have Perahia's wonderful account, and probably my favorite.

    But two I don't see mentioned often I acquired as part of those mega download boxes. I knew nothing about either and quite like them enough to look up some information on them.

    Peter Serkin has recorded Goldberg several times and his 1987 performance is available here for $.99. It's a good one.
    81UhKs59RzL._SS500_.jpg

    James Friskin recorded this one in 1956 available for $.99. Poor Friskin had the bad timing to record around the same time as Gould. This is quite a worthy recording.
    640x640.jpg
    Last edited by Oldhoosierdude; Feb-11-2019 at 01:38.

  3. #108
    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    Since the above post I have acquired Peter Serkin's 96 recording which is quite good.

    And there is this free recording on internet archives.

    Another DG recording made available on Internet Archives. I have no idea why DG chooses to allow these posted as public domain when they are also available for sale. But we have been here before. Internet Archives does not allow pirated items so I accept this as free and legal to download.

    Bach Goldberg Variations a 1969 recording by Kempff. An absolutely simple and beautiful rendition. Read up on it if you like. Kempff leaves out most of the orientation and flair and plays it simple and how he interprets Bach to have intended.
    https://archive.org/details/wilhelmk...tions201824-96
    R-2968172-1368800600-2691.jpeg.jpg
    Last edited by Oldhoosierdude; Jan-13-2020 at 03:56.
    I don't live in the past,
    there's no future in it.

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  5. #109
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhoosierdude View Post
    Since the above post I have acquired Peter Serkin's 96 recording which is quite good.

    And there is this free recording on internet archives.

    Another DG recording made available on Internet Archives. I have no idea why DG chooses to allow these posted as public domain when they are also available for sale. But we have been here before. Internet Archives does not allow pirated items so I accept this as free and legal to download.

    Bach Goldberg Variations a 1969 recording by Kempff. An absolutely simple and beautiful rendition. Read up on it if you like. Kempff leaves out most of the orientation and flair and plays it simple and how he interprets Bach to have intended.
    https://archive.org/details/wilhelmk...tions201824-96
    R-2968172-1368800600-2691.jpeg.jpg
    Kempff would be quite interesting to hear in the Goldbergs. Shall have to check that out soon!

    This is a wonderful thread to read through that, I think, deserves some further discussion about the endless intepretive possibilities of this great composition. Currently Tureck's stereo version ('77 I think?) and Gould '81 share equal adoration from me. They are as close to the dictionary definition of "polar opposites" as can be, but I find them both to be deeply spiritual traversals that illuminate various sublime nooks and crannies of the music, showing us different but equally rewarding hidden gems along the way. My only quibble with both has to do with repeats- Tureck takes them all but her very patient tempi can sometimes make them tough to bear (she does vary some ornamentation and voicing on the repeats, though). And Gould seems to arbitrarily choose which ones to take. At least it's not like his hot-rod '55 version which skips through them all. Also, his very consistent style through each fast variation can sometimes be tiresome. Here are four more favorites:

    - Schiff: I love the clear, bell-like sonority of his instrument and his cleanly-shaped playing. I find it a beautiful balance between formal Baroque articulation and the possibilities of the modern piano in Bach.
    - Perahia: Perahia is not very idiomatic- he plays every variation in a legato fashion. But this makes Bach sing beautifully and provides a more strictly "pianistic" take on the work.
    - Rana: I agree with the praise this has received. Virtuosic but tasteful, imaginative but restraned when need be. The structure of the work comes across as wonderfully organic and inexorable.
    - Levit: Quite a unique reading with some particularly lovely playing in the slow variations. He chooses some tempi that might be seen as more "romantic" leaning than some, but I really enjoy it.

    And just a general question: what does everyone think of Wanda Landowska's Bach? I've seen her lambasted in some circles for her stubborn idiosyncrasies, and praised in others for the depth of her readings. Personally I find the rich sound of her Pleyel harpsichord very palatable compared to period instruments, and her performances to be highly straightforward (not that this is a bad thing). Do you think her recordings serve as more of a historical interest, or do you think they rank among the finest of Bach keyboard recordings?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Kempff would be quite interesting to hear in the Goldbergs. Shall have to check that out soon!

    This is a wonderful thread to read through that, I think, deserves some further discussion about the endless intepretive possibilities of this great composition. Currently Tureck's stereo version ('77 I think?) and Gould '81 share equal adoration from me. They are as close to the dictionary definition of "polar opposites" as can be, but I find them both to be deeply spiritual traversals that illuminate various sublime nooks and crannies of the music, showing us different but equally rewarding hidden gems along the way. My only quibble with both has to do with repeats- Tureck takes them all but her very patient tempi can sometimes make them tough to bear (she does vary some ornamentation and voicing on the repeats, though). And Gould seems to arbitrarily choose which ones to take. At least it's not like his hot-rod '55 version which skips through them all. Also, his very consistent style through each fast variation can sometimes be tiresome. Here are four more favorites:

    - Schiff: I love the clear, bell-like sonority of his instrument and his cleanly-shaped playing. I find it a beautiful balance between formal Baroque articulation and the possibilities of the modern piano in Bach.
    - Perahia: Perahia is not very idiomatic- he plays every variation in a legato fashion. But this makes Bach sing beautifully and provides a more strictly "pianistic" take on the work.
    - Rana: I agree with the praise this has received. Virtuosic but tasteful, imaginative but restraned when need be. The structure of the work comes across as wonderfully organic and inexorable.
    - Levit: Quite a unique reading with some particularly lovely playing in the slow variations. He chooses some tempi that might be seen as more "romantic" leaning than some, but I really enjoy it.

    And just a general question: what does everyone think of Wanda Landowska's Bach? I've seen her lambasted in some circles for her stubborn idiosyncrasies, and praised in others for the depth of her readings. Personally I find the rich sound of her Pleyel harpsichord very palatable compared to period instruments, and her performances to be highly straightforward (not that this is a bad thing). Do you think her recordings serve as more of a historical interest, or do you think they rank among the finest of Bach keyboard recordings?

    I think Landowska was a more interesting musician before the war than after.

  7. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I think Landowska was a more interesting musician before the war than after.
    I find her Pleyel monster self forbidding.

  8. #112
    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Kempff would be quite interesting to hear in the Goldbergs. Shall have to check that out soon!

    This is a wonderful thread to read through that, I think, deserves some further discussion about the endless intepretive possibilities of this great composition. Currently Tureck's stereo version ('77 I think?) and Gould '81 share equal adoration from me. They are as close to the dictionary definition of "polar opposites" as can be, but I find them both to be deeply spiritual traversals that illuminate various sublime nooks and crannies of the music, showing us different but equally rewarding hidden gems along the way. My only quibble with both has to do with repeats- Tureck takes them all but her very patient tempi can sometimes make them tough to bear (she does vary some ornamentation and voicing on the repeats, though). And Gould seems to arbitrarily choose which ones to take. At least it's not like his hot-rod '55 version which skips through them all. Also, his very consistent style through each fast variation can sometimes be tiresome. Here are four more favorites:

    - Schiff: I love the clear, bell-like sonority of his instrument and his cleanly-shaped playing. I find it a beautiful balance between formal Baroque articulation and the possibilities of the modern piano in Bach.
    - Perahia: Perahia is not very idiomatic- he plays every variation in a legato fashion. But this makes Bach sing beautifully and provides a more strictly "pianistic" take on the work.
    - Rana: I agree with the praise this has received. Virtuosic but tasteful, imaginative but restraned when need be. The structure of the work comes across as wonderfully organic and inexorable.
    - Levit: Quite a unique reading with some particularly lovely playing in the slow variations. He chooses some tempi that might be seen as more "romantic" leaning than some, but I really enjoy it.

    And just a general question: what does everyone think of Wanda Landowska's Bach? I've seen her lambasted in some circles for her stubborn idiosyncrasies, and praised in others for the depth of her readings. Personally I find the rich sound of her Pleyel harpsichord very palatable compared to period instruments, and her performances to be highly straightforward (not that this is a bad thing). Do you think her recordings serve as more of a historical interest, or do you think they rank among the finest of Bach keyboard recordings?
    You might like Kempff then. He's total opposite of Gould. He's Bizarro Gould. At first I checked to see what I was listening to. Thought I keyed up the wrong work. I read up a bit on why Kempff played it the way he did and there is good reason. It comes across simple uncomplicated and beautiful.
    Last edited by Oldhoosierdude; Jan-14-2020 at 04:25.
    I don't live in the past,
    there's no future in it.

  9. #113
    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    I can't believe I have not mentioned this one.

    https://opengoldbergvariations.org/

    This is totally free and legal to download and use in any way you like. The artist released this to the public domain. Where you see donation amount you are free to enter zero. I find this an exceptionally well recorded Goldberg Variations from 2012 and recommend it. The artists site explains the instrument and recording techniques used.
    Try it, you won't regret it.

    It isn't obsure, hard to find, really old, or insanely expensive and it isn't by the Canadian G Man, so it may not appeal to everyone.

    I like her playing. Critical reviews seem almost non existent. Possibly it was reviewed in 2012 when first released. I have had it since that time and listen to it once in a while.

    open-goldberg-variations-album-cover-700x700.jpg
    Last edited by Oldhoosierdude; Jan-27-2020 at 03:21.
    I don't live in the past,
    there's no future in it.

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  11. #114
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    I saw Ishizaka play Art of Fugue in London, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it at all, I could hear very little finesse, very few subtle or interesting ideas. Maybe tough plain speaking and simplification is part of her poetic approach. At the time she was seeking crowd funding for a CD release, I don’t know if it has happened, but I can see that she has three Bach recordings on Qobuz - Goldbergs, AoF and WTC1.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-27-2020 at 11:11.

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  13. #115
    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I saw Ishizaka play Art of Fugue in London, I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it at all, I could hear very little finesse, very few subtle or interesting ideas. Maybe tough plain speaking and simplification is part of her poetic approach. At the time she was seeking crowd funding for a CD release, I don’t know if it has happened, but I can see that she has three Bach recordings on Qobuz - Goldbergs, AoF and WTC1.
    Her AOF is the only piano version I have. I have heard recordings by others also. It's one of the few Bach works that I don't much care about so hers is as good as any.
    I don't live in the past,
    there's no future in it.

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  15. #116
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhoosierdude View Post
    Since the above post I have acquired Peter Serkin's 96 recording which is quite good.

    And there is this free recording on internet archives.

    Another DG recording made available on Internet Archives. I have no idea why DG chooses to allow these posted as public domain when they are also available for sale. But we have been here before. Internet Archives does not allow pirated items so I accept this as free and legal to download.

    Bach Goldberg Variations a 1969 recording by Kempff. An absolutely simple and beautiful rendition. Read up on it if you like. Kempff leaves out most of the orientation and flair and plays it simple and how he interprets Bach to have intended.
    https://archive.org/details/wilhelmk...tions201824-96
    R-2968172-1368800600-2691.jpeg.jpg
    I listened to Kempff's Goldbergs today. Wow, what a performance! At first, I had some major reservations considering he takes the aria so unsentimentally and with no ornamentation at all (making it sound like a totally different piece). But his traversal of the variations is unmatched IMO except by Gould '81 and Tureck '79. Yes, he's very straightforward. Yes, he arbitrarily chooses which ornaments to play (I would be interested in learning how he came to these decisions). Yes, he only takes the first repeat in each variation if you're a stickler for that. But he masters the art of beautiful, unadorned playing. His legato is light and creamy, his characterization of the variations is fascinating, his phrasing idiomatic. And he brings out lots of voices I had never heard before. All this to say, Kempff plays the Goldbergs like the masterpiece of Western music that they are. He lets everything speak for itself, but is as far from bland as can be. I owe a big tip 'o the cap to Oldhoosierdude!

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  17. #117
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhoosierdude View Post
    For anyone wanting a freebie Goldberg, naxos.com has one this month. You have to sign up for the newsletter. It is far from a bad version. Middle of the road I would say.
    51gsLb7bl6L._SY355_.jpg
    I just bought this for $2 at a record store but haven't listened to it yet. My interest was piqued when I saw that Joyce Hatto had plagiarized this and garnered some acclaim for "her" recording.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I have a copy of that Naxos CD. If only I could find it I'd give it a spin. Let me know if you think it's worth listening to.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

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  20. #119
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhoosierdude View Post
    For anyone wanting a freebie Goldberg, naxos.com has one this month. You have to sign up for the newsletter. It is far from a bad version. Middle of the road I would say.
    51gsLb7bl6L._SY355_.jpg
    I'd say the same. I've had this disc for what seems like forever - rarely think of it but always find it enjoyable when I give it a spin.

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    I have Jendo Jando on Naxos...listened to it and found it to be what some described as playing without embellishments. I have Glenn Gould (55/82), Barenboim, Schiff (not the so called ecm version), Feltsman, Perahia, and some I cannot recall and I like this Jendo Jando version...just found it a few weeks ago and dug it up after reading this.

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