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Bach: Goldberg Variations / Labadie, Les Violons Du Roy

Release Date: 04/11/2000 
Label:  Sono Luminus   Catalog #: 90281   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Bernard Labadie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bernard Labadie's excellent transcription of the Goldberg Variations makes fascinating listening. In arranging the work for strings and continuo (including harpsichord and theorbo), the variations gain in contrast from one to the other, and the result has less of a "passacaglia" feel to it, and more of a "suite" character. The use of violins for the upper lines emphasizes the tunefulness of Bach's melodies, clarifies the counterpoint in the canons, and somehow gives the famous final Quodlibet's popular songs a more "folksy" feel.

Of course, there are drawbacks too: the variations that explore sheer keyboard virtuosity (such as No. 14, or the final
Read more group after No. 25) sound rather tame with their brilliant figurations divided up between several players. Then again, on the plus side, there's an extra expressive intensity in the Aria and the slow variations (No. 15, and above all, No. 25, both of which take on the character of such profound slow movements as the "Crucifixus" from the B minor Mass or the second movement of the D minor Harpsichord Concerto).

In short, the sustaining power of the strings makes an effortless legato, critical in Bach's slow music, a matter of course rather than a technical tour-de-force, as is the case with a harpsichord (less so with piano, naturally). Labadie's interpretation (with all the repeats taken) is marvelous: lively, committed, carefully prepared, sensitive to the character of each individual variation, and the playing is spectacular. At 79-and-a-half minutes, this gorgeously recorded, well-filled disc really does shed new light on a familiar masterpiece in a way that is at once respectful and totally engaging.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Bernard Labadie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Bernard Labadie
Composition written: Nuremberg, Germany (1741 - 1742). 

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