The Goldberg Variations stands as one of the greatest keyboard works ever written. Composed for a two-manual harpsichord, its universal musical language and distinct voicing has made it a popular subject for arrangement, including those for two pianos by Joseph Rheinberger, for woodwind quartet by Andrei Eshpai, for organ by Jean Guillou, and for solo guitar by József Eötvös, as well as the brilliantly re-imagined Gilded Goldbergs by Robin Holloway.
Dantone interpretation is easily one of the best I have heard in recent years, and I consider it among the elite harpsichord recordings of the Goldbergs in the catalogs. His interpretations feature a compelling mix of power/energy, rhythmic lift, sharply etched phrasing, poignant refrains, playful episodes, bleak terrains and totally satisfying conversations from Bach's contrapuntal musical lines. I think it is fair to say that Dantone gives us the full measure of Bach's soundworld in excellent sonics that are crisp as well as well as abundantly rich.
The CD combines Bach's Goldberg Variations with the Metamorphosis of Philip Glass and offers a confrontation between two completely different musical worlds.
The arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, for string trio by Russian violinist and composer Dmitry Sitkovetsky has taken on a life of its town, with multiple performances and even a sort of electronic remix by Karlheinz Essl. The appeal for string chamber groups longing to share in Bach's riches is obvious, and for audiences it appears to be another case of Bach's music standing up to whatever you do to it. Like most other annotators, Hyperion's Nigel Simeone tries to claim that the arrangement is on a par with the numerous transcriptions Bach made of his own works. It is no such thing; the string chamber texture by its nature adds expressive devices that were not of Bach's world, and he would have found Sitkovetsky's version bizarre.