Johann Sebastian Bach – Aria With 30 Variations, BWV 988 ‘Goldberg Variations’ – Mahan Esfahani (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Aria With 30 Variations, BWV 988 ‘Goldberg Variations’ – Mahan Esfahani (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:18:23 minutes | 979 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
Recorded: Cologne, Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, 4/2016

The Bach performances of harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani are never boring and often fascinating. He has a way of using his instrument, here a contemporary version of a 1710 Thuringian harpsichord, to evoke a wide range of extramusical associations, and during a live performance of the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, he offered as an encore not another piece of music but a reading from Horace. One may be forgiven for thinking that this much-anticipated Goldberg Variations recording, released as Esfahani began a five-year traversal of Bach’s music at London’s Wigmore Hall, gets away from him a bit even as it displays the utterly distinctive thinking of the performer. Start with the booklet, where Esfahani begins with a pointless defense of the veracity of Johann Nikolaus Forkel’s account of the sleepless Russian Count Goldberg that gave the variations their name: Bach was said to have been asked to write variations that were then requested by the Count at his bedtime, presumably singly. The grand conceptions of the individual variations, explored by Esfahani in the booklet and excitingly realized at the keyboard, might be thought more likely to jolt the Count awake than to put him to sleep, and in general this is a Goldberg Variations that impresses more in its individual parts than in the whole. Esfahani speaks disdainfully of numerological interpretations of the score, which is perhaps understandable, but balance is as much a part of the score as distinctive evocative detail, and it gets lost in Esfahani’s interpretation. Sample Variation 24, the canon at the octave, which Esfahani likens to “the grand ensemble of horns and strings” at the beginning of the Cantata No. 65, “Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen,” BWV 65: it may be ringing and stirring, but it is less clearly linked to its surroundings, to say nothing of the snoozing Goldberg, than one would like. Nevertheless, for bold thinking on the harpsichord, Esfahani can’t be beat; he may be slightly better live than on recordings, and this is certainly a major new statement concerning the Goldberg Variations.

Tracklist:
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Aria With 30 Variations, BWV 988 “Goldberg Variations”
1. Aria 03:50
2. Variatio 1 a 1 Clav. 02:02
3. Variatio 2 a 1 Clav. 01:25
4. Variatio 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all’Unisono 02:38
5. Variatio 4 a 1 Clav. 01:08
6. Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. 01:33
7. Variatio 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda 01:09
8. Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Al tempo di Giga 01:51
9. Variatio 8 a 2 Clav. 02:02
10. Variatio 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza 02:26
11. Variatio 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta 01:36
12. Variatio 11 a 2 Clav. 01:58
13. Variatio 12 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quarta 02:22
14. Variatio 13 a 2 Clav. 05:02
15. Variatio 14 a 2 Clav. 02:07
16. Variatio 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante 04:19
17. Variatio 16 a 1 Clav. Ouverture 03:05
18. Variatio 17 a 2 Clav. 01:54
19. Variatio 18 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Sesta 01:36
20. Variatio 19 a 1 Clav. 01:12
21. Variatio 20 a 2 Clav. 02:02
22. Variatio 21 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Settima 02:47
23. Variatio 22 a 1 Clav. Alla breve 01:33
24. Variatio 23 a 2 Clav. 02:21
25. Variatio 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all’Ottava 03:42
26. Variatio 25 a 2 Clav. Adagio 06:45
27. Variatio 26 a 2 Clav. 01:58
28. Variatio 27 a 2 Clav. Canone alla Nona 01:43
29. Variatio 28 a 2 Clav. 02:22
30. Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. 02:10
31. Variatio 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet 01:49
32. Aria da capo 04:11

Personnel:
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

Download:

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