The Goldberg Variations

2011-06-23

Longtime readers of this blog know that I can get a bit obsessive about certain works of art. One such work is Bach's Goldberg Variations, which invariably shows up on the lists of my favorite music that I make from time to time. Heck, I even partly modelled my book The Tao of Roark on Bach's music, or at least the idea of it.

Ever since I first heard it in the early eighties, Glenn Gould's second recording has been my favorite, and no one else has been able to knock Gould off his perch. Until now. After repeated listenings, I do believe I might prefer the recent recording on harp by Catrin Finch. She does a fine job of separating the strands of counterpoint (accentuated, no doubt, by the two-handed approach that the harp requires), and the ethereal quality of the harp brings out the abstract nature of Bach's music (the 29th variation is downright magical!). Finally, as a lover of the lower range, I'm happified by the fact that she brings the humble bass line of the aria to the fore, since it is the very foundation of the entire piece.

Brava!


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