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Bach: Goldberg Variations,
with Sarabanda con Partite BWV 990 and Aria Variata BWV 989

Matthew Halls, harpsichord

Linn Records: 356

The Goldberg Variations have been well served by the gramophone, ever since Landowska (1933), straight and in various further variations.

Two of my favourites are József Eötvös' for guitar and Uri Caine's elaboration for a larger ensemble. And not to be ignored is the famous Glenn Gould recording.

For "straight" accounts on harpsichord, Matthew Halls is as good as any, and his Ruckers/Hemsch/Tucker two manual instrument serves well. I agree with The Scotsman that this masterwork is presented anew "with thrilling affirmation and crystalline clarity, rolled out as an inexorable stream of thought".

The double disc puts the Goldberg Variations in context with two other minor, but delectable, sets of variations. Splendidly recorded, and my chosen image (Stephen Page) suggests that Halls was really enjoying himself in the sessions!

Peter Grahame Woolf

[Short review, but rich links to enjoy !]