> BACH Goldberg Variation Trich (organ) MDG31803862 [KM]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750)
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Käte van Trich, organ
Rec: December 1990.
MDG 318 0386-2 [72.33]


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Käte van Trich presents here a recording of Bachís greatest keyboard work. the Goldberg Variations, played on the organ. A rare disc indeed, since there are few organ recordings of this work.

This recording just doesnít work for me. While the Goldbergs can be played on a variety of keyboard instruments, Käte van Trichís performance comes over as stiff and ponderous. The subtle notes of the aria donít work well at all on the organ - this instrument makes them too long and heavy, compared with the lightness in this piece that is heard on harpsichord or piano.

The organ also flattens all the notes, leaving no possibilities for dynamics - although there are many possibilities for variety in registration. The tempi chosen by Trich just donít seem to work; they all seem too slow, even for the slower variations. Again, this is because of the organ and the way its notes are sustained. But this shows, in my opinion, that, even though most of Bachís keyboard works stand up well to versions on different instruments, this is one that just doesnít fit for the organ.

The 3rd variation, for example, which is usually played with a certain amount of vigour, sounds here like an organ chorale, with the bass notes overwhelming the treble melody and eliminating the relief from the incisive notes of the right-hand part.

The cascading melodies of the beginning of the 11th variation work well on the organ; but, after the first few measures, they get lost in the overall sound, drowned out by the bass notes. While the recording is clear, it seems that it is just the nature of the organ that does not work with this particular score.

This disc is a curiosity; few recordings have been made of the Goldberg Variations for organ. But the result shows why this is the case. The music just does not work on this instrument, the notes just donít fit on the organ. This is a disappointing recording, best left alone, except for those who are truly fans of organ music.


Kirk McElhearn


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