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Goldberg Vars

Johann Sebastian Bach Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Goldberg Vars + Beethoven: Diabelli Variations - 2CD Set + J.S. Bach - The Well-Tempered Klavier Books I & II - 4CD Set
Price For All Three: CDN$ 94.71

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Product Details


1. Aria
2. Variatio 1
3. Variatio 2 A 1 Clav.
4. Variatio 3
5. Variatio 4
6. Variatio 5
7. Variatio 6
8. Variatio 7
9. Variatio 8
10. Variatio 9
11. Variatio 10
12. Variatio 11
13. Variatio 12
14. Variatio 13
15. Variatio 14
16. Variatio 15
17. Variatio 16
18. Variatio 17
19. Variatio 18
20. Variatio 19
See all 32 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Pour ses Goldberg, le pianiste hongrois a choisi un magnifique piano de la collection d’Angelo Fabbrini parce qu’il recherchait depuis années la traduction musicale de couleurs particulières. Il avait déjà enregistré l’œuvre pour Decca, mais cette nouvelle version est bien différente. L’étude approfondie de la partition sous l’angle musicologique et de nombreux concerts ont forgé une tout autre interprétation. Andras Schiff conçoit les Variations Goldberg comme un voyage initiatique de la naissance à la mort autour d’un thème si célèbre. On oublie la virtuosité de cette musique qui ne supporte aucune faiblesse, aucun doute rythmique. Peut-être aussi que les expériences de directions d’orchestre de Schiff ont modifié son approche vers une dimension plus lyrique de l’œuvre. Un disque central dans la carrière de ce grand musicien et une belle lecture moderne. --Étienne Bertoli

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Variations Rediscovered June 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Mr. Schiff's beautiful, brilliant, powerful performance rediscovers one of the top works of the greatest of musicians. For those of us that for years were used to Mr. Gould's 2 great versions of the Goldberg Variations, this is a unique chance to enjoy this masterpiece in all its freshness and strength all over again; there are many interesting differences between the recordings and the musical approach is definitely original. A must-buy for the lovers of J. S. Bach music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My fave variations June 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
I just watched Hannibal again last night and dug out my fave version of Bach's variations, so's I could feel all Lecter-esque (feline and visceral and utterly present) as I was writing into the morning...
I prefer this to the Glenn Gould versions (both his early and later releases). It is just a matter of preference. I like my variations played intimately, slowly yet with depth and emotion- Schiff weaves his way through these like a nimble dancer.
It's a slow, languid, mesmerizing preformance and the audience is nothing short of the platonic ideal of what an audience should be- I can't hear a single thing from them and it doesn't sound as if the producer had someone edit out background noise. If you're looking for an epic rendering of these tunes- this is where i would have you go.
Still one of the only good things about existing in our world and age is that there are myriad versions of this out and about and you could have them all at your fingertips! Find your own fave. Dig in. The Goldbergs (Goldbugs I called them back when my teacher tried to make me learn 'em when I was young) are beautiful enough to warrant multiple copies. There are at least 25 or so different recordings (you can find countless ones here in amazon if you look- there's a great listmania that enumerates many of them...) of these sumptuous pieces by so many pianists that I'm daunted by the task of hunting them all down.
Still one aspires to rise to the occasion...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Schiff's Great Goldberg Variations Dec 3 2003
By John Kwok TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I don't recall ever hearing Glenn Gould's famous - or infamous, depending on your interpretation - recordings of J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations. However, I know that these were made by a very idiosyncratic artist, so there shouldn't be any fair comparisons to Schiff's latest recording (Regrettably I have not heard Schiff's earlier Decca recording, so I can not compare and contrast it with his latest, for the ECM label.). Any comparison would not be fair to Gould or to Schiff. However, Schiff's performances are thoughtful, inspired performances played in a Baroque style, but on a modern piano (He offers some interesting comments about the validity of performing these pieces on a modern piano in the liner notes.). His playing is as subtle and as graceful as Brendel's interpretations of Mozart and early Beethoven. Without question, Schiff's latest recording of the Goldberg Variations is among the finest currently available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Celestial Oct. 19 2003
Format:Audio CD
I have several versions of the Goldberg Variations, and this one is ideally suited to the CD era. Just look at the length of it, for a start: 71.11 minutes. Of the others, Glenn Gould's first recording came in at an extraordinary 38.24 mins, but this was pushing the limit of what a 1950s LP could handle. Glenn Gould's second version, releaseed just after his death in the early 1980s, was 51.20 mins long. My least favourite version, on Naxos by Pi-hsien, is 55.08 minutes of muffled, murky piano-playing.
Andras Schiff performed this new version two years ago in front of an exceptionally silent audience in Basel. (No-one appears to cough or fidget at all -- only once in the entire concert did I detect someone dropping something.) The recording certainly has the ambience of the concert hall, but there's not even any applause at the end of the recital. (Contrast this with, say, another ECM label pianist, Keith Jarrett, performing live, where the audience behaves in almost the opposite manner.)
Clearly there is not the sound of each page of music being turned over. I am so new to piano-playing that I am still in awe of anyone who can keep so much music in his head. (That's one of the advantages of recording in the studio!)
As usual with ECM CDs, the packaging is immaculate: detailed notes by Schiff himself, who first recorded this work 20 years ago, and even an acrostic poem on his name by Vikram Seth, author of 'A Suitable Boy'.
Will this CD usurp any of the affection I have for both the Glenn Gould versions? No, they will continue to find a regular place in my CD player -- I just love their eccentricities, and I find their relative brevity easier to cope with. 71 minutes is almost too much music for my mind to handle, but this is a fantastic version.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Sept. 26 2005
By Musicus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am astounded by the negative reviews below. I have listened to many versions of the Goldberg variations, but never any better than this. I don't think I ever will be bored by Schiff's performance here. This live-concert is even better than his 1983-interpretation and I don't think it is possible to improve this one. It is relaxing and stimulating at the same time, a feeling of completeness that never is boring.

Moreover, I have never noticed anything wrong about the sound quality and think we use to blame the sound quality when we don't like the way of playing.

By the modern piano, you will of course not get any historically informed baroque music, but I can easily forget this, by thinking of it as pure piano music, valid by the eternal & boundless reason of Bach's musical thinking. So if the listening doesn't bring me back to Bach's era, it gives me something else, not less valuable. I cannot put this on without imagining something very pure, something white, like clean, new snow, white, firm and soft at the same time.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variations Rediscovered June 9 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Mr. Schiff's beautiful, brilliant, powerful performance rediscovers one of the top works of the greatest of musicians. For those of us that for years were used to Mr. Gould's 2 great versions of the Goldberg Variations, this is a unique chance to enjoy this masterpiece in all its freshness and strength all over again; there are many interesting differences between the recordings and the musical approach is definitely original. A must-buy for the lovers of J. S. Bach music.
53 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celestial Oct. 19 2003
By Gavin Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have several versions of the Goldberg Variations, and this one is ideally suited to the CD era. Just look at the length of it, for a start: 71.11 minutes. Of the others, Glenn Gould's first recording came in at an extraordinary 38.24 mins, but this was pushing the limit of what a 1950s LP could handle. Glenn Gould's second version, releaseed just after his death in the early 1980s, was 51.20 mins long. My least favourite version, on Naxos by Pi-hsien, is 55.08 minutes of muffled, murky piano-playing.
Andras Schiff performed this new version two years ago in front of an exceptionally silent audience in Basel. (No-one appears to cough or fidget at all -- only once in the entire concert did I detect someone dropping something.) The recording certainly has the ambience of the concert hall, but there's not even any applause at the end of the recital. (Contrast this with, say, another ECM label pianist, Keith Jarrett, performing live, where the audience behaves in almost the opposite manner.)
Clearly there is not the sound of each page of music being turned over. I am so new to piano-playing that I am still in awe of anyone who can keep so much music in his head. (That's one of the advantages of recording in the studio!)
As usual with ECM CDs, the packaging is immaculate: detailed notes by Schiff himself, who first recorded this work 20 years ago, and even an acrostic poem on his name by Vikram Seth, author of 'A Suitable Boy'.
Will this CD usurp any of the affection I have for both the Glenn Gould versions? No, they will continue to find a regular place in my CD player -- I just love their eccentricities, and I find their relative brevity easier to cope with. 71 minutes is almost too much music for my mind to handle, but this is a fantastic version. There is none of the mumbled singing that accompanies a Gould or Jarrett piano recording, and I'll just have to get used to the idea that maybe JSB didn't intend a vocal track when he composed the Goldbergs.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Album July 11 2013
By D. Castro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I whole-heartedly recommend this recording to anyone who isn't so bogged down by early music dogma that they are unable to appreciate Schiff's nuance and musicality. The performance captured on this disc is live and in concert, so it isn't perfect, but that hardly matters because it only makes the experience of listening to it that much more real, more authentic (as opposed to some phony studio album with obvious splices and other fancy editing). At this point in my own musical career I am far more interested in hearing music that is engaging and personal, as opposed to that which is "perfect" or "historically informed," but also cold and sterile.

I also own Schiff's 1982 recording for Decca and love to compare the two in terms of tempos, articulations, dynamics, etc. There are differences, though I'm not sure which I prefer, which probably means that they both bring out unique aspects of the music and are worth spending time with.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Lyrical Bach July 25 2010
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
András Schiff is able to make even those who have Bach's glorious GOLDBERG VARIATIONS memorized from numerous other recordings (or having been able to play these extraordinary variations on their own) hear them afresh. Schiff's approach is so intimate, beginning with the statement of the original aria through all the variations until the aria is once again allowed to sing alone, that he makes us feel as though he were sitting at the keyboard in a room occupied only by the artist with us as the only guest. This is transparent Bach, every phrase and variation stated with such clarity and beauty that the fact that these variations are technically difficult is simply submerged in the quality of music that flows from Schiff's hands and heart.

Works as important in music history and in the hallowed place in the heart of millions in the centuries since it was composed are bound to have strong opinions about performance - whether the work should even be played on the piano as opposed to the harpsichord, whether what Glenn Gould attached to these variations are valid or no, etc - and that is unavoidable. What András Schiff accomplishes in this recording is that touch with transcendence that makes all other arguments fade. Yes, there are many superb performances of this work and a legion of recordings that are exceptional, but returning to the very origin - the aria on which the work is based - played in the way Schiff caresses it without smothering it in either sentiment or academia, gives ample proof that the following variations of that little miracle aria will satisfy the way Bach wished them to satisfy. No matter how many recordings you may have of this work, expand your appreciation of it with András Schiff. Grady Harp, July 10
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