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Reviews: Bach: Goldberg Variations - Gunther Rost

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Review by FullRangeMan June 19, 2009 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Well, this is a short time SACD, as the regular Goldberg Vars rise to 74 minutes, but this amazing SACD with all the usual 32 tracks have 44:54.
This is a case where less is more, less time for more beautiful in the music, is a fair trade for sure, Oehms Classics and the performer are congratulated, Thankyou boys.
The performer is Gunther Rost, a 35 years old Germany virtuoso that plays with heavenly grace. The organ is a Bernard Aubertin at the Eglise Saint Louis en L'île, Paris.

The recording was in 2007, by the sound it is a PCM one, Oehms Classics do not inform what PCM type, it is very good and close-up in some passages where is possible
listen the bass pedals hit the woodbase, also there is other ambiental noises that give acoustics references of the church space, a beautiful recording.
The marvelous ilustrated 33 pages booklet in English and Germany explain in detail the devotional and numerical meanings used by Bach to making this work.

I never was a fan of the Goldberg Vars in the piano(sorry GG fans) or harpsichord versions, even the traditional slow organ version is a bit more beautiful only, by the sounds of a real tube organ,
because the tempo is very slow, lazy, there is no beauty in the music. So, when I listen music samples of this SACD at the JPC link I was very surprised, this new tempo (for me) for organ make
the music shine, this is a musical fond for my personal taste. Bach assingned the G Vars to the harpsichord, not to the organ, and his friend Balthasar Schmid published it in 1741.

Why this SACD have a fast tempo on some tracks? And all the others SACDs of this work have a slow tempo ? After afew messages with Geohominid and Peter, seems clear there is 2 versions
of the G Vars on disc, one short of 45 minutes and other long of 74 minutes. Propably the short version is always played with a fast tempo. Certainly this fast tempo is a essential improvement to
listen the Goldberg. I think Bach loved this. This is Bach to the 21 Century! Highly Recommended. To this ears the Performance is 5 stars, the Stereo Recording is 4 stars.
Also there is a MultiChannel sound mix.

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Review by JohnProffitt July 3, 2009 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
I agree, this is an excellent recording and performance.

On the timings: the shorter timing is due to the lack of repeats played with individual variations, not any unusually fast tempos. Tempo-wise, Herr Rost is in the mainstream of harpsichord and piano versions played without (most) repeats.

This, and the recent Cybele SACD, demonstrate for me that the Goldberg Variations work very well indeed on the organ. Highly recommended.

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