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I love Kimiko Ishizaka's Goldberg Variations!

on Mon, 05/28/2012 - 16:42

Today was an exciting day, as we released Kimiko's recording of the Goldberg Variations to the general public. For the past 20 months, this piece has consumed my existence, musically. Not only have I heard its many stages of development in Kimiko's hands, through numerous concerts, long hours of practice, and the five-day recording session in Berlin, but I've also scrutinized over a dozen other recordings of the piece by the great masters of the ages. Barely a day has gone by in more than year where I haven't listened to someone playing this marvelous work.

So what can I conclude from it all? First, it's an amazing creation. My love for Bach, and for this piece in particular, is overwhelming. The structure and nuance are endlessly fascinating, and the music is robust enough to support a broad range of interpretations. I have also concluded that more thought and precision went into Kimiko Ishizaka's recording than most of the other recordings on the shelf. She has taught me to listen for the small details, such as consistency of articulation, integrity of the line and voicing, and the urgency of making each repeat in each variation special in its own way, but without recomposing the music, drowning it in ornaments, or bending the expression gratuitously. 

In short, I really love Kimiko's recording. It has become hard for me to listen to some other famous recordings because they sound aggressive, athletic, obvious, and untrue to Bach. They leave me wanting to go back and erase the memory by listening to Kimiko one more time. 

Well, I know I'm biased. But that's OK, right? =)