Perhaps no one in the 20th century became as firmly associated in the public's imagination with J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations as Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist whose best-selling recordings of the piece are legendary. After Gould died in 1982, violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky transcribed the Goldberg Variations for string trio in his memory, and this version owes much to Gould's fluid, strongly characterized interpretations, notably in the connected phrasing and crisp articulation that carry over into the part writing. Trio ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen has made this arrangement a specialty, and this performance is a surprisingly effective showcase in the hybrid SACD format. One might not imagine a string trio being large enough in size, wide enough in dynamic range, or varied enough in sonorities to provide the rich listening experience that audiophiles prize in multichannel recordings, but the playing of violinist Cecilia Zilliacus, violist Johanna Persson, and cellist Kati Raitinen is quite colorful and expressively diverse, sufficiently so that the ear never tires of the ensemble sound nor of the individual playing. This is saying a lot, for this traversal of the Goldberg Variations is close to an hour in length, which is on the short side of recordings, for some run much longer with repeats. Yet in the time allotted, this trio takes full advantage of its resources and delivers a version that is almost as personal and insightful as Gould's. Caprice's recording is clean and focused, and the group is surrounded with a pleasantly resonant yet not overly echoic acoustic.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Goldberg Variations, BWV 988|