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Bach: Goldberg Variations / Wilhelm Kempff

Release Date: 03/01/1994 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 439978   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Say what you will about the 75-year-old Wilhelm Kempff's "old school" Goldberg Variations, with its unembellished Aria, seeming surface plainness, and avoidance of virtuosic sheen. However, I say that this 1970 recording remains among the most beautiful and heartfelt piano versions of Bach's keyboard tour-de-force. Within Kempff's straight-laced, intimate parameters you encounter the most subtle nuances, changes of color, dynamic gradations, and accents. I've rarely heard Variation 9's lines (the canon at the fourth) sing out so calmly and naturally, or the three minor-key variations emerge with comparable ease, fluidity, and melodic cogency. Yet in Variation 27 (the canon at the ninth) Kempff also reveals how well he can deliver Read more rapid, detaché playing when so inclined. Observing the A-section repeats, Kempff doesn't embellish them so much as he refocuses voicings and balances between hands, to convincing effect. If you missed DG Galleria's excellent 1994 digital remastering when it first appeared, get it now by way of ArkivMusic.com's on-demand reprint program. A unique and treasurable release. [2/23/2011]

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1969 
Venue:  Beethovensaal, Hanover 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Not Glenn Gould, but terrific just the same. December 23, 2013 By Allan B. (Calgary, AB) See All My Reviews "I have long been a fan of Glenn Gould's Goldbergs (1981 version especially), and also Angela Hewitt's. Kempff has an older style, but his version loses nothing on that account. It is refreshing to hear someone like Kempff, complementing Gould and Hewitt. Jeremy Denk's recent recording has yet another point of view, which is also terrific. Such music requires different approaches by such effective interpreters in order to bring out all of the nuances. The Kempff recording is especially wonderful heard while relaxing over a good wine or a single malt scotch, or even a rich coffee." Report Abuse
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