Monday, 30 October 2017

Bach - Goldberg Variations - Seldom Sene

Rating: 2/5

Not a successful arrangement

I like the idea of an arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for recorder consort and there is some fine musicianship here, but I'm afraid that overall this recording didn't work for me.

In principle this is a good idea; Bach's music – including the Goldbergs – can often work extremely well in arrangements, and the arrangement itself here is fine.  However, the overall sound doesn't really come together into a coherent whole and  I often had the sense of an elderly harmonium struggling for breath.  I don’t know whether this is because of the instruments themselves, the players or the recording balance, but the lower-register recorders especially often struggle to be heard in the texture which unbalances counterpoint badly.  As a result there is little sense of coherence, much of the meaning of the music is lost and, frankly, I found this a bit of a struggle to listen to in places.

I am sorry to be critical.  This is a project which I admire and there is some fine, virtuosic playing in places, but as a recording of the Goldberg variations I really can't recommend it, I'm afraid.

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