Sunday, 24 December 2017

Bach - Goldberg Variations - Strauf, Harders

Rating: 4/5

An enjoyable arrangement

This is an arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for two violas da gamba which I approached with some scepticism because even the great Fretwork couldn't really make the Goldbergs work on viols.  This recording does have its limitations, but it actually works better than I expected.

This was originally a set of pieces for keyboard, of course, and the two gambas are a little limited in their ability to create complex harmonies and also in their nimbleness in the really quick, light passages.  This does show in places – Variation 8, for example – but the overall sound is magnificent and much of the disc is very enjoyable.

The playing by Strauf and Harders is very good and the recorded sound really captures the full resonant beauty of the two gambas.  It may not be a classic rendition of the Goldbergs, but this is an enjoyable disc which I can recommend.

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