Stories » 5 star review from theguardian for Mahan Esfahani's Bach: Goldberg Variations

Top 10 for Aug

5 star review from theguardian for Mahan Esfahani's Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bookmark and Share

Everyone wants to record Bach's Goldbergs, but not many show as much piercing insight as harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. The surprises begin at once with a slightly simplified Aria and then some unusual tempi – the canons at the unison, third and octave are slow – and an unevenly tempered tuning for the harpsichord. Esfahani shows amazing rhythmic freedom at times, sometimes teasing us with a long pause before a repeat starts. The final sequence of variations 26 to 29 accumulates brilliant excitement, after which the folk songs of variation 30 are a touching relaxation, and the Aria finally emerges intact. A hugely stimulating account of one of the peaks of western music.

SEE theguardian PAGE