Notes and Editorial Reviews
*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***
One of my favourite Bach keyboard works, BWV 988, the Goldberg Variations, seems to have been taken over by versions for piano in my collection. A candlelit performance by Trevor Pinnock at Dyrham Park House lives on in the memory however, and Landowska’s performance is stately to say the least. Her opening tempi are withheld, building the foundations of an interpretation which arches over the entire set of variations, which is the way it should be. The full weight of the Pleyel instrument is also brought forth in measured doses, and the simpler textures of the two-part variations are unencumbered by extraneous and unnecessary effects.
Landmarks along the way stand like granite monuments in the musical landscape, and Variation 21; Canone alla settima, and the fantasia-like Variation 25 are both forward looking and somehow nostalgic. The story is a long and serious one, but the listener is encouraged at each turn by lighter moments, and with Variation 26 we are homeward bound and no mistake. The arrival of the Quodlibet, with its little song quotations is our salvation, and the final Aria our ‘Memento Mori’. It is Bach’s epic novel in musical form, and you will be hard put to find a better storyteller than Landowska.
-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International [reviewing RCA 67891]
Works on This Recording
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Wanda Landowska (Harpsichord)
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany
Date of Recording: 06/1945
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