Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750):
Goldberg Variations BWV. 988
Piano: David Korevaar
Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson
Recorded at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo, N.Y. June 4th & 5th, 2007
Original 24/88.2 Master - Recorded direct to the SADiE Artemis
24-Bit High Resolution digital workstation.
Piano: Shigeru Kawai EX Concert Grand #2425001
Shigeru Kawai Master Piano Artisan: Takanori Otake
Special thanks to: Rev. Dr. Charles D. Bang of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo, New York and Brian Chung, Senior Vice President of Kawai of America
This recording was made possible through the generous support of the Hinkle Charitable Foundation (theHCF.org) through the Hal Hinkle Fund for Classical Music Outreach at Northern Arizona University and The Ivory Classics Foundation
Liner Notes: David Korevaar and Tim Smith
Photo on page 16 of this booklet: Casey Cass / University of Colorado
Design: Samskara, Inc.
Published in the early 1740s as the fourth book of Bach's modestly titled Clavierubung ("keyboard practice"), the Aria mit verschiedenen Veranderungen ("Aria with diverse variations") is the apotheosis of the Baroque variation set. Since the early 17th century and before, composers like Girolamo Frescobaldi had been writing variations - or Partite in Italian - based on standard bass-lines with names like Follia, Ruggiero, Passacaglia, Monicha, and Romanesca. These fixed forms would have been familiar to musicians of the late Renaissance and early Baroque in the way that today's standards are to jazz musicians. By the time Bach came around to writing his grandest of all sets on a bass-line that combines features of several of these older fixed forms, these kinds of bass-oriented variation sets had already become a kind of historical curiosity.
American Record Guide, Jan. 2010
Piano Magazine Germany, Apr. 2008
David Korevaar shapes each of Bach's 30 Goldberg Variations as separate entities rather than components of a larger structure. Although he'll often proceed from one movement to another, the tempos do not necessarily correlate. No particular game plan seems to govern the pianist's decisions regarding repeats--and when he does repeat, he goes wild with ornaments. This sometimes bogs down rather than enhances the melodic lines, notably when Korevaar adjusts the rhythm in order to accommodate a particularly fanciful mordant, trill, or turn. On the whole you won't find Glenn Gould's bouncy rhythmic sense or incisive swing, nor Murray Perahia's finely grained sense of style.
However, on the plus side, Korevaar's audacious textural interplay in the cross-handed variations certainly evokes the composer's two-manual harpsichord registrations. Also note Korevaar's uncommonly forthright and animated approach to the minor-key variations, and observe how well he characterizes the Quodlibet's expansive, after-dinner "sing along" origin in contrast to Simone Dinerstein's overly reverential "tiptoe thru' the turnips", so to speak.
It's clear that Korevaar revels in his Shigeru Kawai EX Concert Grand's ample yet transparent sonority, so vividly captured by Ivory Classics' production team. In short, despite initial reservations, David Korevaar's unhackneyed, intelligent, sincere pianism adds up to more than just another Goldberg Variations recording. You may or may not like the overall approach, but there's no denying its legitimacy or his ability to carry it off successfully.
Jed Distler, Classics Today