Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV988 (Orch Sitkovetsky)

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV988 (Orch Sitkovetsky)

Article excerpt

JS Bach [G]

Goldberg Variations, BWV988 (orch Sitkovetsky)

Britten Sinfonia/Thomas Gould

Harmonia Mundi [F] [SACD] HMU80 7633

(73' * DDD/DSD)

To what extent is one listening to the 'arrangement' rather than the piece? It's a question which has frequently arisen in the life of Dmitry Sitkovetsky's highly durable 1985 transcription of the Goldbergs. Informed by their constant exploratory zeal in old and new terrain alike, the Britten Sinfonia shift the balance emphatically towards uncovering the breathtaking inventiveness of Bach through the vessel of the medium. If the Leopold String Trio (Hyperion, A/11 gave us a stripped-down, supercharged template of the arrangement, then this takes us on a significantly more kaleidoscopic tour.

From the baleful and mysterious opening theme (Thomas Gould's capacity for beguiling intimacy reappears, satyr-like, in Vars 13 and 25), timbral suppleness, fizzing roulades and right-knit dialogue predominate. Employing all repeats, this becomes a patiently unfolding set of considered perspectives, of various tutti and chamber textures, taken to the edge in the delicacy of articulation and luminosity of counterpoint and by an inexhaustibly ambitious fleet-of-foot ensemble celebrating Bach's mesmerising au courant figuration. …

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