Boy, is this fun! Mika Väyrynen not only plays Bach's Goldberg Variations on the accordion to brilliant virtuosic effect, but he also manages to give each variation a unique identity. If Tania Lukic-Marx's more reverential way with the score makes her the accordion's Helmut Walcha, Mika Väyrynen, in turn, evokes the spirit of Virgil Fox on best behavior. Hear how he imbues Variation 7 with gentle swagger and sharp, unexpected accents that prove equally piquant when taken up the octave on the repeats. Redistributed to accommodate a single keyboard and rows of buttons, the two-keyboard variations blast off from their respective starting gates and hardly let up.
Variation 29's toccata-like textures particularlyRead more lend themselves to the accordion's breathy bellows, while the canons at the unison and the fifth plus the "black pearl" 25th variation feature Väyrynen's sexy, honey-coated legato phrasing. Sometimes Bach's contrapuntal lines blur within the resonant, roomy acoustic, but the sound is so vibrant and alive that you simply go with the flow. And unlike the three other accordion Goldbergs I've managed to hear (Stefan Husson/Thorofon, Tania Lukic-Marx/Aura, and Wolfgang Dimetrik/Amphion), Väyrynen takes all repeats, save for the Aria Da Capo. Definitely one of 2004's most entertaining and lovable releases. [8/31/2004]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988by Johann Sebastian Bach