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Goldberg Vars

Johann Sebastian Bach Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 32.95
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Product Details


1. Aria
2. Variato 1. a 1 Clav.
3. Variato 2. a 1 Clav.
4. Variato 3. Canone all'Unisuono. a 1 Clav.
5. Variato 4. a 1 Clav.
6. Variato 5. a 1 o vero 2 Clav.
7. Variato 6. Canone alla Seconda. a 1 Clav.
8. Variato 7. a 1 o vero 2 Clav. al tempo di Giga
9. Variato 8. a 2 Clav.
10. Variato 9. Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav.
11. Variato 10. Fughetta. a 1 Clav.
12. Variato 11. a 2 Clav.
13. Variato 12. Canone alla Quarta. a 1 Clav.
14. Variato 13. a 2 Clav.
15. Variato 14. a 2 Clav.
16. Variato 15. Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav. andante
17. Variato 16. Ouverture. a 1 Clav.
18. Variato 17. a 2 Clav.
19. Variato 18. Canone alla Sexta. a 1 Clav.
20. Variato 19. a 1 Clav.
See all 32 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

One of the finest harpsichord players active today, Christophe Rousset made many excellent recordings for Harmonia Mundi before jumping ship and recording for Polygram. This will probably turn out to be a mistake on his part, as most of his Bach releases haven't even been issued in this country, whereas his Harmonia Mundi titles are still available and going strong. One of the few new recordings of Rousset's that we do have is this first-rate Goldberg Variations, a fine performance by any standard. This piece will always remain one of the ultimate intellectual and emotional challenges for pianists and harpsichordists alike, and Rousset is certainly up to the job. Grab it while you can. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach would have attended all performances in the series! Feb. 1 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I think I am not supposed to comment solely on the performer; yet given the work performed and the composer, a comment on either would be superfluous. Neither needs any comment. In the case of such works, the performer is everything; and Christophe Rousset seems to be just about that: everything. His performances in ensemble work are wonderful, but his special gift is evident in solo work such as this. The haprsichord has a reputation for being a "less than" instrument in comparison with the piano: less tonal color, less dynamic range, less yielding of nuance. In some performers' hands this is so. When Rousset plays, the instrument sings. What Toscanini was to the orchestra, Rousset is to his instrument. How he coaxes such fluidity, nuance and sense of melody from it, is beyond any explanation - other than the simple one, that he has sold his soul to God.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant AND elegant - seek this one out! Sept. 1 2009
By JohnG. - Published on Amazon.com
Though my musical activity is on other keyboards (organ, carillon), I have long believed that the Goldberg Variations represents THE greatest piece of music in any genre. Why? It is a triumph in that through all the "intellectual" techniques (canon at every interval from unison to twelfth, fugato, several lively hand-crossing concerto movements), it is, end to end, delightful listening. (This is in decided contrast to "Art of Fugue" and "Canonic Variations on 'Vom Himmel Hoch'" by Bach, both of which are, in total, quite dull listening.) My collection of recordings of this work is large, including four different readings (spanning several decades) by Gustav Leonhardt, Wanda Landowska's brilliant but eccentric reading, Scott Ross, and Rousset. The late Scott Ross and Christophe Rousset shared the common distinction of winning the seldom-awarded First Prize at the prestigious Bruges Harpsichord Competition. Both went on to glorious recording and performing careers, though Ross's life was cut short through his untimely death (age 38 or so). I acquired the Ross and Rousset recordings of Goldberg at the same time, and decided to do an "A-B" comparison of the two, by listening to variation 1 by Rousset, then Variation 1 and 2 by Ross, then 2 and 3 by Rousset, etc. until I had compared the entire work that way. Ross's playing was always elegent, eminently singing and musical. Rousset's playing tends to be a bit more "driven," and he can sound a bit "ill at ease" in passages that are at their best presented in simple elegance. For many of the variations, Ross has the edge for that reason. One certainly couldn't go wrong with either! BUT, the hair-raising excitement of the French Overture-style variation, and a couple of the other really fiery variations, won me over to preferring the Rousset. What a wild man!!! It's a very special recording of this phenomenal piece. With all due respect to different tastes for different folks, I think it's a travesty to use Glenn Gould's flippant, insensitive piano recording of this work as a measuring stick for a stylistically appropriate harpsichord reading. No, Rousset isn't the Glenn Gould of the harpsichord! He's WAY better than that! Seek this one out, and beg the publisher to re-issue it! It's a true masterpiece!
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 35 April 10 2012
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
As a man who has survived over thirty assassination attempts, Father Melchizedek OP had every reason to be wary as he walked into his Antwerp apartment. True, many of these attempts were organised by his adversaries at Universal Imports or his so-called brothers at SPECTRE - but the majority of them were instigated by his trusty, Hong-Kong born manservant Cato. The Dutch cleric only has himself to blame: he has ordered Cato to assail him with High Romanticism at any given hour to test his resilience. Even so, on the night in question he was exhausted: much of the day had been spent interrogating a recusant as to the location of a copy of Scherchen's Matthew Passion. With the assistance of an Iron Maiden, the information had been forthcoming.

"Cato! Cato !!! Pay attention! This is your employer speaking! I am cancelling the attack orders for tonight! You understand? I know that I told you to show no mercy and to attack and to pay no attention to what I say and even play some Karajan on the odd occasion! But tonight . . . but tonight, I am ordering you to pay attention! You will not attack, Cato!"

"Melchizedek," the High Priest of Period Practice hissed to himself, "I can guarantee you that at this very minute, his fiendish little brain is plotting some new ambush!"

Club in hand, the cleric progressively darted from one room to another, checking out Cato's usual hiding spots. As far as he could tell, the apartment was deserted. Nor was there any evidence of booby-traps. After breathing a sigh of relief, he made himself a hearty alfalfa in pita-bread feast and then settled down in front of his sound-system to refresh himself with some early Buxtehude. Much to his surprise, a copy of Rousset's Goldberg Variations was sitting on a nearby table.

"That's funny, I don't remember leaving that out. Nor have I listened to it for sometime."

Now there is much in the Rousset that would entice any listener - even those who prefer to hear this work on a modern-day piano. Above all, it is vibrantly alive and full of verve - for example Variations XXVIII & XXIX coruscate with life, humour and wit. Rousset has a keen ear to polyphony and magisterially balances the inner voices. He uses a 1751 harpsichord with plenty of bark and bite. He is also spectacularly recorded. If one were to criticise the performance, one would suggest that the Black Pearl Variation is a trifle - if not infinitesimally - too direct; furthermore, Variation XII is played at a breakneck speed, much to its own detriment and that of the Variation that follows; one could also say that Rousset fails to convey an `Alpha and Omega roundtrip' with the penultimate variation. Even so, these are sunspots. It is a fine if not outstanding performance. On his part, Father Melchizedek prefers the Leonhardt performance with its more ascetic `Valley of the Dry Bones' approach.

Ever so daintily, the cleric took the CD out of its case - in doing so, he failed to notice that some of its artwork was smudged. If he had bothered to turn the disc around to check its bottom side, he would have observed the blue tint of a pirate disc. Yes indeed, the CD in question had been burnt but one hour beforehand. It contained lengthy excerpts from Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach and The Well Tempered Synthesizer - and Cato himself was standing outside on the balcony with the remote control to the sound-system . . . . .
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In response to the other review May 24 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I haven't heard the whole disk, only the selections offered. But since I know well the variations, I shall respond. (I didn't tamper with the 5 star rating.)
This harpsichord playing is indeed quite good. If I remember right, he used an authentic model and not merely an authentic-sounding instrument.
But I shouldn't compare this playing to Toscanini. The best compliment I can think of is that it sounds like Gould on a harpsichord.
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