Trevor Pinnock's playing will have any perceptive listener eagerly sitting on the edge of his chair and demanding more: its bubbling vitality gives the set a cheerful, light-hearted character that is altogether unusual.
Johann Gottlieb Goldberg must indeed have been a remarkably precocious keyboard virtuoso if these superb variations were written for him to play to his master, Count Kayserling, for they were already published by the time that, at the age of 15, he became a pupil of Bach's. (There is an unsolved mystery here, since although Bach received for them a golden goblet filled with 100 louis d'or, no dedication or mention of Kayserling appears on the printed edition.) Forkel said that they were put to practicalRead more use to combat the Count's insomnia. One recording, by an artist whom gallantry prevents me from naming, would have sent the Count to sleep from sheer boredom; he might well have taken refuge in sleep as a means of escape from another, by a player living further north.
But to come to the present case, Trevor Pinnock's playing would not only do nothing to induce slumber, but on the contrary would have any perceptive listener (as the Count was) eagerly sitting on the edge of his chair and demanding more: its bubbling vitality and spring-heeled rhythm are immensely engaging, and the generally very fast speeds adopted give the set a cheerful, light-hearted character that is altogether unusual. (They also enable repeats of just over half the variations to be included on a single disc.) These lively tempi—Variations 3 (the unison canon) and 14 are perhaps the most extreme—are nevertheless mostly convincing (though the French Overture surely needs greater breadth?), and No. 7, which recent research has discovered to be marked Al tempo di Giga, trips along on the lightest of toes; which makes it all the odder that Pinnock plays the theme so slowly and with so much rubato. I feel, too, that in its context the No. 21 minor variation is too suddenly slow, and I'm personally convinced that the 'black pearl' No. 25 can exercise its full emotional effect without making the rhythm too elastic. But, taken as a whole, this set, recorded with lifelike fidelity, is a feather in Pinnock's (and Archiv's) caps.
– Gramophone [12/1980] reviewing the original LP release of the Goldberg Variations Read less
Works on This Recording
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988by Johann Sebastian Bach Performer:
Trevor Pinnock (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany
Italian Concerto, BWV 971by Johann Sebastian Bach Performer:
Trevor Pinnock (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Superb RecordingMarch 30, 2017By M. Bishop (Clackamas, OR)See All My Reviews"Trevor Pinnock at the harpsichord keyboard does an excellent job of presenting Bachs Goldberg Variations on this album. The intricate complexity of Bachs keyboard composition come through clearly here, and Pinnocks mastery of the music is apparent as well. The recorded quality of the presentation is superb; the keyboard and the playing of the harpsichord is front and center, neither understated nor overstated. Another centerpiece of the music comes through in the various tempos at which the music is performed. Pinnock establishes the various tempos of the different variations expertly and well. When all is said and done, I give Pinnocks performance here my highest recommendation."Report Abuse