Ekaterina Dershavina is a young pianist who has won several
prizes, yet has not established a reputation as a recording artist.
This may actually be her only disc so far.
Dershavina accords a rhythmic approach to the Goldberg
Variations. She is incisive, lively and energetic in the faster variations,
and subtly smooth in the slow variations. Her tempi are relatively rapid
- without being Gouldian - but, in most cases, she seems right at home
with these rhythms. There are a couple of occasions when she seems to
lose the rhythmic flow in fast passages - as in variation 26 - but overall
she has a very nice touch.
Dershavina’s dynamics are well-suited to this work.
She varies her dynamics well, both within individual variations and
between them. She has just the right touch in variation 5, a rapid,
flowing piece. Her performance of variation 15, a blinding piece with
runs up and down the keyboard, is one of the most breathtaking I have
ever heard. In general, she negotiates very well the faster pieces,
giving them an energy that is rare in piano recordings.
She shows a great feeling for elaborate yet not overdone
ornamentation. She is certainly a virtuoso pianist, but has the humility
to not show it. In some of the variations, such as variation 9, she
uses florid ornamentation, but it never sounds excessive.
Dershavina plays variation 25, the longest of the set,
with great tenderness. She seems to stroke the music lovingly, giving
it a gentle, sensual interpretation, phrasing the melodies carefully
yet with great conviction. In the repeats of this variation she strays
from the text a bit, adding subtle nuances that flow with the music
in perfect harmony. This is perhaps the best performance of this variation
I have ever heard on the piano.
There is something impalpable in this performance of
the Goldberg Variations. Ekaterina Dershavina gives a fine performance
of this work, perhaps one of the best available on the piano. She allies
both subtle phrasing, for the slow variations, and breathtaking energy
for the fast ones. In spite of a few small moments where the magic is
lost, this is a brilliant recording, and at a budget price as well!
Snap it up for a rare example of pianistic excellence.