- Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9)
Bach: Goldberg Variationsby Catrin Finch
The young Welsh harpist Catrin Finch makes her Deutsche Grammophon solo recital debut with her own transcription of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Finch's rise to fame includes being named the Royal Harpist to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales from 2000 through 2004. This honored position was last held in 1873, making the appointment a truly momentous occasion for the young harpist (she was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music at the time).
For this unique project, Finch spent more than a year meticulously working out the details of Bach's masterpiece, including the intricate fingerings and complex chromatic variations. The resulting arrangement presents the Goldberg Variations in a completely new context that can be both startling and beguiling. Dubbed the "Queen of Harps" by Classic FM, Finch has worked tirelessly to increase the appeal of and repertoire for her instrument. From the Label
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
Performance CreditsCatrin Finch Primary Artist
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This is an awful recording. Again leave it up to DGG to hype up their roster of "superstar" performers. For one thing, the album cover cites this recording as the "first recording of the Goldberg Variations on harp". Ballyhoo! Not! After some research, I found a talented French harpist named Sylvain Blassel who had recorded the original GV's without any tricks or embellishments whatsoever. Quite impressive. We do not need yet another interpretation of the Goldberg Variations on novelty instruments. In short, this recording stands as being different for the sake of being different. There is not much value to that. With Bach being transcribed in all sorts of arrangements, the GV's have become the "Four Seasons" of the 21st Century. The sonic engineering for one thing is terrible. The harp is exceedingly harsh, lacking variations in light and shade. Tonal dynamics are muddled at best so that notes are infused into one another. This is not romantic; it's just inane. Do not be fooled by the marketing gimmickry. The rounded jewel case is deceiving; making it appear to be a hybrid SACD. But make no mistake. This is just a regular CD masquerading as hyperbolic "art" for those foolish enough to buy into it. If you are really "into" transcriptions for the harp, I highly recommend recordings by Yolanda Kondonassis. If Kondonassis had found the Goldberg Variations worth recording, I'm sure we would have had her release something by now.