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Bach: Goldberg Variations on Guitar / Salcito

Bach / Salcito
Release Date: 07/29/2014 
Label:  Dynamic   Catalog #: 7699   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Marco Salcito
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Unlike many Bach works adapted for guitar, the keyboard-specific intricacies of the Goldberg Variations do not easily lend themselves to six strings. In the late 1990s Kurt Rodarmer circumvented these limitations via overdubbing and using a custom-made guitar with an extended bass register. He also transposed the piece to D major, a key that lies more comfortably for guitar than the original G major. By contrast, József Eötvös’ contemporaneous solo transcription adhered to the original key and contained all of the music within a solo guitar’s six string range, albeit necessitating slower tempos, contrapuntal compromises, and frequent transpositions of lines up or down the octave.

Marco Salcito shares
Read more Eötvös’ essentially purist conception, although he is less shy to incorporate idiomatic flourishes and articulations that guitarists love, such as rolling chords, and sliding or bending into and between notes. He does this extensively when repeating each variation’s “A” and “B” sections, yet the fanciful embellishments enhance rather than obliterate Bach’s melodic lines. In addition, Salcito’s recasting of the scintillating cross-handed variations in more deliberate, guitar-oriented terms is not unlike watching rapid basketball moves played back in slow motion: you lose the dance but you gain the details.

A good example of this is Variation 26’s triplet figurations that ordinarily sprint up and down the keyboard. When slowed down, previously overlooked inner melodies emerge. Granted, the combination of the guitar’s limited dynamic range, Salcito’s leisurely pace, and his observance of all repeats save for the Aria da capo might make this nearly two-hour-long interpretation seem interminable over the course of a single hearing. Yet Salcito’s quiet, compelling mastery and eloquent musicianship, together with Dynamic’s intimate, full-bodied engineering, will win over guitar enthusiasts, and perhaps seduce a few Bach fans as well.

– Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Marco Salcito (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 For the Bach buff and/or Classical Guitar enthusi February 27, 2018 By Manuel Soriano (London, ON) See All My Reviews "I heard short and extended samplings of Marco Salcito’s playing of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations on Youtube. Two factors made me consider ordering the CD set to own it. First, the playing length of this version. It’s on 2 CDs, almost 2 hours which means it contains all the repeats that all other renditions have hitherto skipped, glossed over or abbreviated. Second, unlike the other complete rendition for the solo guitar, it does not involve key transposition of any of the variations although it does contain transposition of certain passages to render them accessible on the guitar. The scholarly work that Marco Salcito achieved with his version of the variations and his virtuosic performance of them are both accomplishments of the highest level. As to the recording and playback quality of these CDs, they are of the highest quality with extraneous noises such as gliding and squeaky noises barely audible. This CD title is a treasure that every Bach buff and/or classical guitar enthusiast should possess in his collection." Report Abuse
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