Johann Sebastian Bach, "Goldberg" Variations. Performed by Bernard Lagacé on an organ by Rudolf von Beckerath, made in 1961. Recorded in November 1995 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Èglise Immaculée-Conception) in Montreal, Canada. Total playing time: 77'40".
Bach originally wrote his "Goldberg" Variations for a harpsichord with two manuals, and if you want to hear it played as originally intended, you should look for the versions by Gustav Leonhardt (Bach: Goldberg Variations) - this is a recording without the repeats - or by Maggie Cole (Bach: Goldberg Variations) who plays everything. If, however, you are prepared to swallow your purist's pride and listen to this charming work on an organ, you could certainly do worse than to turn to Bernard Lagacé's recording for Analekta. The Beckerath organ which he plays is, technically, a "modern" instrument, but it seems to have been built according to 18th century specifications and has all those quaint-sounding registers ("Holzgedackt", "Rohrflute" etc) that one associates with organ music of this period. Lagacé, one of Canada's foremost Bach connoisseurs, plays with delightful ease and moderate tempi, allowing the structure of the work to become clearly audible. His registrations, all listed in the excellent inlay, seem to me spot-on, giving each variation, as he himself says in his annotations, its own character.