Bach, J S: Goldberg Variations



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17 Μαΐου 2016

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Goldberg Variations, BWV988


Aulos Quartett

Added Value

Even the very first printed editions of Bach’s
incomparable Goldberg Variations contained
arrangements for ensembles of melody instruments.
The reason behind this is obvious: Bach’s complex
part texture, designed for a keyboard instrument with
two manuals, cannot be realized without further ado
on the piano and can only with difficulty be grasped by the listener. The Aulos Quartet has recorded a new
version of Josef Rheinberger’s arrangement that
grabs and keeps our listening attention for two good
reasons: the ideal transparency created by the mixed ensemble of strings and winds and the employment of the oboe profonda , a rarely heard instrument
enormously expanding the t onal resources of the
oboe family.

Instrumental Version

The musicians of the Aulos Quartet have based their
arrangement on the version produced by Rheinberger for two pianos more than a hundred years ago.
Rheinberger succeeded in bringing to the surface
hidden polyphonic structur es by means of an
extremely skillful assignment of the parts to two
pianos. This is a perfect point of departure: the oboe and violin play the treble, the
oboe profonda takes
charge of the tenor part, and the violoncello supplies
the bass. As a result, similar sound colors never cross paths – thus guaranteeing massive gains for

Intrepid Virtuosity

And what a plenty there is indeed to hear: the minuet, sarabande, and polonaise form a three-layer aria;
canons of the highest art challenge the performers
and listeners with their progressive intervals in the
upper voices. In the quodlibet two songs of folk
character are added to the bass theme, and it is only in retrospect that we become aware of the fact that
one of the songs had previously found repeated use
in little particles. It is not wi thout reason that this work is regarded as a great achievement in the art of

Audio Veracity

The rewarding arrangement by the Swiss ensemble
also brings out many a
previously unnoticed detail
even for seasoned listeners. According to the legend, Imperial Count Keyserlingk instructed Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, a harpsichordist traveling in his retinue, to
perform from these variations when the count suffered from insomnia during the night. It can hardly be
imagined that this art-loving man would have fallen
asleep during such brilliant entertainment. All
historical considerations as ide, listening to this SACD produced with top technology as a 2+2+2 recording
makes for true pleasure.

Επιπλέον πληροφορίες

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