WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bach: Goldberg Variations / Rachlin, Imai, Maisky

Release Date: 04/10/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000824802   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nobuko ImaiMischa MaiskyJulian Rachlin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Of all the many arrangements/transcriptions that have been made of Bach's Goldberg Variations, Sitkovetsky's version for string trio is perhaps the most logical, sensible, and musically satisfying. The familial timbres of violin, viola, and cello assure a consistently agreeable ensemble sound that holds up well over the course of 30 variations, yet the instruments are different enough that important individual lines are easily distinguishable to the ear. Technically, these three instruments can relatively easily satisfy all the work's demands regarding range, textural variety, ornamentation, and expression, and Sitkovetsky invariably finds elegant solutions to creating divisions of labor among the three instruments that sound seamless and Read more unified.

Cellist Mischa Maisky performed on the 1984 Orfeo recording (released in 1985) with Sitkovetsky and violist Gérard Caussé, and that reading retains a warmth of sound and conveys a directness of style and ensemble rapport that's just slightly less apparent in this new performance. And yet, the two versions are more similar than they are different, not least of which regards the strength and confidence of the playing and the refusal to overplay or in any way subvert the music's inherent clarity and "simplicity".

For some listeners, the most important difference will be the fact that in his own performance Sitkovetsky doesn't take all of the repeats, thus the Orfeo recording times at 56 minutes as opposed to this new disc's 80. For me, the shorter rendition makes a tight, well-paced, fully satisfying interpretation, and as mentioned, the performances are unbeatable. However, if you're interested in the full effect of Bach's work (not to mention completeness), including all of the first and second endings, presented in the larger structural context of the original, you shouldn't miss Rachlin, Imai, and Maisky's consistently compelling, tonally vibrant reading. The recording perspective is fairly close (you occasionally hear a vocal sound from one of the performers), but it's right for this music, serving to enhance our awareness of the dynamic interaction among the players. Recommended!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nobuko Imai (Viola), Mischa Maisky (Cello), Julian Rachlin (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
Notes: Composition written: Nuremberg, Germany (1741 - 1742). 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title