a previous recording by the young Australian
harpsichordist Jacqueline Ogeil. That
was of Handel cantatas with her own
group Accademia Arcadia, and a welcome
disc it was too. Now she has turned
to the Goldberg Variations.
I certainly enjoyed
her playing once more; it’s technically
accomplished, stylistically aware, has
a consistent approach to repeats (all
taken) and a keen ear for questions
of scholarship. She taken a relatively
sedate tempo for the Aria and employs
some telling, but not over milked, rubati
for instance, and employs some very
precise articulation and voicings in
the first canon. The Fourth Variation
is crisp and almost brittle and the
Thirteenth sees starkness in left hand
articulation, coupled with staccato,
rubati and well-graded accelerandi.
I would say that she takes a fine, flowing
tempo for Landowska’s Black Pearl
(No. 25) that, even so lasts, 5.28.
Such is her control that whilst it does
sound brisk it doesn’t sound rushed.
Of course there are
some other points to note. I don’t feel
she gives enough weight to left hand
voicings sometimes (No. 5 is a definite
case in point) and there’s a certain
deliberateness, an italicisation to
the Third Canon that doesn’t sound quite
natural. In the Fourteenth I wish she’d
let the voicings "go" a bit
more – so that the attacca left hand
could have added bite and cross-currents.
No. 16, the Overture, sounds unusually
jerky and Variation 23 rather unsmiling.
That said the final variations, from
No. 27 to the end, are really finely
The sound quality is
attractive without being particularly
special; I was worried I would hear
ambient noise from St Ambrose Catholic
Church, Woodend – one hears a slight
hum in the opening bars before she begins
but it disappears; if it’s there at
all I couldn’t hear it. This is a youthful
performance of the Variations, rather
dry-eyed and perhaps rather stinting
on the potential for interior drama.
It tends to elide and smooth out contrasts
rather than playing them up and for
all its accomplishment it doesn’t always
present a cohesive view of the work’s