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  • Leonid Sokolovsky

J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Just discovered a great recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, masterfully performed by Vladimir Feltsman (piano). It was a nice surprise to find a recoding that would compare (or even compete) with the world famous interpretations of Glenn Gould (recorded in 1955 and 1981). Feltsman’s approach is very authentic, yet musical. Here is what I mean by "authentic": this composition is a clear Baroque style, and Feltsman uses primarily non-legato touch and no damper pedal. The polyphonic structure and voicing is clearly defined, there is a very tasteful use of rubato playing. The tempos feel just right, never too slow or too fast. There is a very rich dynamic palette ranging from ppp to fff. Also, this is a well-edited live recording. The sound quality is superb, with a nice resonance of a big concert hall. Another interesting thing to note is that Feltsman’s interpretation has quite an improvisational style (in some parts of the composition he adds octaves in the left hand part instead of using a single melody, and sometimes he moves the main melody from the left hand to the right part and vice versa). From a percussionist's point of view, a few of the variations can be played on marimba using 4-mallet techniques. Overall, highly recommended!

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