Notes and Editorial Reviews
A warm welcome back to the catalog, this time at budget price, for Reinhard Goebel's insightful, scrupulously well-played account of Bach's Musical Offering. This was among Goebel's first recordings (1979) to attract global enthusiasm from the critics, at a time when the use of period instruments in Bach was by no means so well established nor so unquestioningly accepted as is the case today. The work is intelligently coupled with the sonatas in E-flat BWV 1031 and E major BWV 1035 for flute and continuo. Some listeners, however, might prefer some written explanation of the music, particularly of the Musical Offering, though as with all of DG's "Eloquence" series titles, none is supplied.
The great strength
in Goebel's performance is that he allows you to hear every strand of the music through very careful balancing of instrumental forces. This is where Goebel scores highest over most of his rivals, though I'd also recommend the Harmonia Mundi version from the Kuijkens as a fine alternative, though its recorded sound lacks the clarity and focus of the DG Archiv masters. Take the Canon for two unison violins and continuo (track 3), where you can clearly follow the interplay between Charles Medlam's gamba and the harpsichord realizations of Henk Bouman, even in the succeeding sections in contrary motion (track 4) and augmentation (track 5). A favorite track of mine is the perpetual canon (track 8) for flute, violin, and bass gamba. And how wonderfully pointed and alert is Goebel's solo playing here; again, the truly democratic character of the instrumental dialogue allows you to follow the contrapuntal and polyphonic mastery of Bach's writing with complete ease.
I'd rank this as certainly your best choice if you're happy to read up on the work elsewhere, as some fairly detailed commentary on the work is essential. The lack of any here is disadvantageous, but you can't have everything at bargain price, and besides, the performance here leaves absolutely nothing unsaid. Lastly, Webern's orchestration of the Ricercar casts fresh perspectives on Bach's original, so Christoph von Dohnanyi's Decca coupling with Bruckner's 8th symphony makes an intriguing companion disc to Goebel's benchmark account of the definitive version.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Reinhard Goebel (Violin),
Charles Medlam (Viola da gamba),
Hajo Bäss (Violin)
Musica Antiqua Cologne
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany
Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in E flat major, BWV 1031 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute),
Henk Bouman (Harpsichord),
Jaap ter Linden (Cello)
Written: circa 1734; Leipzig, Germany
Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo in E major, BWV 1035 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Jaap ter Linden (Cello),
Henk Bouman (Harpsichord),
Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute)
Written: 1717-1720; ?Cöthen, Germany
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