For close to 300 years Bach’s Goldberg Variations have awed performers as well as listeners, through an unparalleled combination of a dazzling variety of expression and breath-taking virtuosity with stupendous polyphonic mastery. No wonder then that other musicians than harpsichordists have wanted to make it their own – pianists, first and foremost, but also accordion players and guitarists, flautists and harpists. Having performed and recorded much of the classical as well as the modern string trio repertoire, Trio Zimmermann began working on the Goldberg Variations several years ago, playing an existing arrangement. But in their own words, the three members – among the leading string players of our time – ‘soon became captivated by theRead more original score and its innumerable beauties and details’. As a result they have jointly prepared a performing version which here receives its first recording. Playing an important part on this album are also the Trio’s instruments – all by Antonio Stradivarius, and featured in close-up on the cover.
There is no wallowing in this performance, but there is also no lack in expressive depth. That gorgeous Variatio 25 moves along with a gently flowing momentum, but space is allowed for its musical narrative to unfold with poignant grace. There is no attempt to wrest more from the strings than the music would seem to demand, so Beethovenian profundity is not on offer here. Instead it is the shape of the variation as a whole from which the full effect emerges, the quiet towards the end taking our breath away with a glimpse of the infinite.
– MusicWeb International
The ensembles declared intention was an 'unveiling' of Bach's masterpiece – the result is a triumph of combined technical ingenuity and musical insight.
– The Strad
Their approach to dynamics is refreshingly flexible, and all three players bring a graceful approach to ornamentation.