Pieter Dirksen

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

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While there are many excellent things in Pieter Dirksen's performance of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, listeners need to accept one characteristic that is apparent from the beginning of this recording: Dirksen takes the Goldbergs at a steady and deliberate pace. This is not to say he doesn't play some of the variations at a moderately fast tempo, but it's difficult to call his playing quick, and it is never virtuosic or showy. A Bach scholar with deep insights, he takes his time to address every possibility for ornamentation, observe every repeat, give every phrase its full length, and make the music reveal as much as possible. Dirksen's diligent rendering of the Goldberg Variations may be too detail-oriented for people with short attention spans, yet there is no other reason to fault him, for his harpsichord playing is meticulous and tasteful, and his understanding of Bach's idiom is profound and thorough. The filler work, the Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, BWV 769, is played on the organ, and Dirksen is equally fastidious and measured in his performance, and just as unhurried in his tempo. EtCetera's sound is clean and focused.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
1 3:16
2 2:26
3 1:51
4 1:45
5 2:40
6 2:32
7 1:59
8 2:40
9 3:23
10 7:53
11 2:40
12 2:05
13 3:13
14 2:27
15 2:13
16 3:02
Canonic Variations, BWV 769
17 1:38
18 1:35
19 3:34
20 3:00
21 4:46
blue highlight denotes track pick