Theme and Variations

Thoughts and experiences of exploring classical, jazz, and other art music.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Goldberg Variations - Part 2

Next up is a harpsichord recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. I blogged a bit on them in my last post.

To my surprise, I found that the harpsichord version is more soothing. I can easily imagine someone whiling away their insomniac hours listening to these. This isn't meant as a put-down of Gould's interpretation; it's just I find, in this case (and it isn't the usual case), the harpsichord more relaxing.

Part of that comes from understanding the music and its structure. Without that, it's just a stream of keyboard music.

The version I heard is from Forces of Virtue Records, a recording by David Schrader. Forces of Virtue appears to be a small label that specializes in early and experimental music.

As I said, I'm not generally a fan of the harpsichord, but I really do like this CD. After hearing Gould's two interpretations (fast in 1955 and slower and 1981), I find that Schrader takes the middle ground in tempo, which I feel must be closer to what Bach intended. Since Gould's recordings are considered standard for collectors, I think that Schrader's version should also be included, to round out interpretations of these variations.