Christophe Rousset

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988; Italian Concerto, BWV 971; etc.

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Released in the early '90s, these recordings by young French harpsichordist Christophe Rousset created a sensation in early music circles. Contrary to then-current light-of-touch, quick-of-wrist style of playing common to harpsichordists, Rousset was no dainty quill plucker, but a full-blooded virtuoso with the steely fingers, individual temperament, and reckless virtuosity characteristic of the supreme players on any instrument. His Goldberg Variations are technically incandescent and eminently lucid, his Italian Concerto is full of bravura playing and persuasive expressivity, his French Concerto teams with coy ornaments and sly ironies, his Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue is rigorously intellectual but harrowingly emotional, his six partitas are vibrantly refreshing, sonorously exalting, and always amazingly entertaining; and it was all too much for the listeners who abjured extravagant playing. By the end of the decade, Rousset had moved on to a successful career as a conductor and never looked back, and this reissue returns to print some of the most bracing Bach interpretations of the early digital era recorded in bright and clear, if perhaps too close, sound.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9)
1
3:51
2
2:02
3
1:23
4
2:10
5
1:02
6
1:56
7
1:12
8
1:40
9
2:09
10
1:32
11
1:23
12
2:18
13
2:27
14
4:40
15
2:14
16
3:27
17
2:53
18
2:11
19
1:21
20
1:16
21
2:37
22
2:39
23
1:23
24
2:36
25
2:40
26
5:50
27
2:31
28
1:56
29
2:55
30
2:22
31
1:37
32
4:20
blue highlight denotes track pick