J. S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

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ALBUM TITLE: Bach – Goldberg Variations
WORKS: Goldberg Variations
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557268
Jenö Jandó’s Goldberg Variations


proves a mixed bag, his rigorous,

virtually pedal-less stance not remotely

helped by an extremely dry acoustic.

His playing is certainly accomplished,

intelligent and committed, excellently

voiced and layered, but perhaps Jandó

has set himself restrictions on grounds

of what may be ‘acceptable’ in Bach

interpretations on the piano, making

this ultimately a very limited account.

His dynamic range is one notable casualty – between mp and f – and

his touch, while it has its beautiful

moments (in the Variation 13 repeat

it is gleamingly translucent and the

fleetness of the French Overture

opening, No. 16, is very satisfying), is

often stabbing and harsh (Variations

8, 14 and sadly numerous others).

This is compounded by an overmetronomic

approach that seems to

measure out many of the variations by

strong beat after strong beat; András

Schiff (a fellow Hungarian) provides

a notable contrast with this in both

his recordings, letting steadiness of

pulse form the background to a more

lyrical sense of flow and the buildingup

of a bigger picture. Schiff, Glenn

Gould (Sony) and Daniel Barenboim

(Erato) have all produced Goldberg

recordings which work considerably

better than Jandó’s as personal

statements that enhance Bach’s vision,

no matter what pianistic parameters

they set themselves (or sometimes

don’t); Jandó’s pianistic parameters

unfortunately result in interpretative


ones too. Jessica Duchen