Listen to the music first! Perahia's booklet essay is a dry musicological treatise concerned with technical aspects of Bach's music. His performance, on the other hand, is filled with life and excitement. The kind of overt virtuosity heard in some of these variations has been a rarity in Perahia's recordings, but it shows how wide a range he intends to cover in his playing of this masterpiece. Unlike Glenn Gould, who is most listeners' touchstone for piano performances of the Goldbergs, Perahia takes Bach's necessary repeats and uses them as occasions for adventure, varying not only the emphases, but also the actual notes. This kind of embellishment in repeats was expected in Bach's time, but it's rare in ours. Also, taking the repeats doubles the length of the piece, making it a larger and more affecting experience--as long as the performer manages to keep those repeats alive, which Perahia certainly does. His playing of the famous 25th variation is deeply affecting without the faintest trace of sentimentality. The way he varies Bach's moods from moment to moment is extremely effective. This is, in short, one of the great recordings of Bach's "Goldberg" Variations. With Vladimir Feltsman's similarly revelatory performance currently out of the catalogs, Perahia's is probably the best piano version available. It's also one of his best recordings. --Leslie Gerber
84630NJohann Sebastian Bach - Bach: Goldberg Variations (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/92/696998924321.jpg?v=39.999.71USDInStock/Genre/Classical-MusicSonyCDClassical-MusicJohann-Sebastian-Bach2009-10-30
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