Sunday, December 30, 2007
Variations on the Goldberg Variations
The big bonus of presenting programmes on internet radio is I get to play the music I want to play, not the music that a focus group tells me to play. On Monday afternoon we have a fun programme for New Year's Eve, and as part of it I'm playing a 15 minute sequence from a double CD that's a personal favourite, but that doesn't fit into any conventional programme format.
Jazz pianist Uri Caine's treatment of Bach's Goldberg Variations defies any categorisation and I'll be playing tracks varying from solo piano to full on jazz. It's all part of our Happy New Ear's programme which is on Future Radio from 1.00 to 4.00pm on Monday December 31st, the Goldberg sequence should be on air at around 2.00pm.
Uri Caine's take is just one of several variations on the Goldberg Variations in my CD collection. Least successful is Robin Holloway's 'recomposition' for two pianos titled Gilded Goldbergs on Hyperion, a double CD which takes a long time to add very little, while Jacques Loussier's jazz variations take less time to say little more.
Among my favourite variations on variations are two recordings of Dimitri Sitkovetsky's masterly transcription for strings. One is a limited edition CD recorded in the beautiful Romanesque cathedral in Vaison la Romaine by the Trio de Prague in 2002, while the other is the fine 1993 recording by the NES Chamber Orchestra on Nonesuch which is noteworthy for both its committed performance and the sleeve notes by John Adams. But Uri Caine is up there with the best, listen in at 2.00pm UK time on Monday December 30th if you can.
Read more about Dmitry Sitkovetsky and those John Adams sleeve notes here.
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