J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Goldberg Variations

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Angela Hewitt
Instrumentation:Piano
Individual Works:Goldberg Variations (Aria with 30 Variations, including repeats, and Aria Da Capo) BWV 988
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Hyperion
Catalog Number:CDA67305
Year Released/Recorded:1999
Total Playing Time:78'32
Comments:John Bratnober said:

This is a wonderfully expressive new recording of "Goldberg" by an artist who only seems to be getting better with each new issue in her complete-keyboard-works-of-Bach project. There is almost none of the "this is how a good student should play it" that made me squirm a bit in her early work and, instead, much more "THIS is how Angela Hewitt plays it and FEELS about it !" And, for the most part, she obviously feels deeply and passionately about it ! I, for one, tire of excessively cerebral and muted Goldberg interpretations offering perhaps a dozen measures above "piano" and livelier than "andante" in an entire performance. In the final analysis, the overly-subtle and cerebral approach becomes just too intellectual for a set of variations which, let's remember, actually conclude with an everyday folk song, "Cabbage and beets drove me away...", before the final, magical return of the aria. So I applaud Ms. Hewitt for having the engineers turn down the usual reverberation hinting that "this is from a learned old monk in a vast cathedral" and instead turn up a little straight-ahead excitement without sacrificing the profound spirit of the work.

Jordan Sayers said:

Out of all the recordings performed on piano, this is my desert-island Goldberg. What I enjoy most is that Angela Hewitt DOESN'T seem to be influenced by Gould's recordings. She appears to have found her own flavour and it's delightful. The sound quality and dynamics are superior to many other recordings I've heard (as the previous reviewer stated, the sound engineer opted for less reverb). Based on the superb quality of this Goldberg disc, as well as the Six French Suites I recently purchased, it is clear that Ms. Hewitt has set new standards in piano performances of Bach.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • John Bratnober
  • Jordan Sayers
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:05/13/2000