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Dong Hyek Lim - Bach: Goldberg Variations

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Dong Hyek Lim

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There have been all manner of recordings released of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and to list them would stretch this review out into virtual infinity. But until pianist Dong-Hyek Lim's 2008 recording of the work, there had never been a recording that made the Goldberg Variations appear to be a Romantic work. Now there is: the South Korean's recording is highly, deeply, intensely, and passionately Romantic. And how is it that the quintessential, indeed, the epitome, of Baroque keyboard works can be made to sound as if it were a product of the Romanticism? First, there's Lim's warm and nuanced tone, his brash virtuoso technique, and his blended textures. But more important than these is Lim's interpretation, which eschews both repeats and objectivity. By skipping each variation's repeats, Lim keeps the music moving forward as a narrative rather than as a series of tableaux vivant, granting the work a drama and drive that few other performances can claim. Even more significantly, Lim espouses a subjectivity that makes the fast variations sound like flights of incandescent joy and the slow variations sound like studies in despondency and despair. For purists, Lim's performance may be abhorrent. But for those whose tastes are more inclusive, Lim's performance may be gratifying. Whatever reservations one may or may not have concerning Lim's Goldberg Variations, however, cannot apply to his Chaconne from the D minor solo violin Partita arranged for piano by Ferruccio Busoni. In his superlative transcription, Bach's work is transformed into a Romantic monument to Faustian striving, and in Lim's staggering performance, Busoni's transcription receives a performance that nearly rivals Michelangeli's sublime performance for heart-stopping magnificence. All Lim's performance lacks is experiences and maturity, and one looks forward to hearing him re-record the work in another 20 or so years. EMI's digital piano sound is clear, rich, and vivid.
© TiVo

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Dong Hyek Lim

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1
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria - Andante espressivo
00:02:50

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

2
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 1 - Allegro moderato
00:01:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

3
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 2 - Allegretto
00:00:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

4
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 3 - Canone all'unisuono (Poco andante, ma con moto)
00:01:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

5
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 4 - L'istesso movimento
00:00:48

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

6
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 5
00:00:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

7
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 6 - Canone alla seconda (Allegretto)
00:00:35

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

8
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 7 - Un poco vivace
00:01:37

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

9
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 8 - Allegro
00:00:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

10
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 9 - Canone alla terza (Moderato)
00:01:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

11
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 10 - Fughetta (Un poco animato)
00:01:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

12
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 11 - Allegro e leggiero
00:01:00

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

13
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 12 - Canone alla quarta in moto contrario (Allegretto moderato)
00:01:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

14
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 13 - Andantino
00:02:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

15
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 14 - Allegro moderato
00:01:04

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

16
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 15 - Canone alla quinta in moto contratrio (Andante)
00:03:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

17
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 16 - Ouverture (Maestoso - Allegretto)
00:01:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

18
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 17 - Allegro
00:00:59

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

19
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 18 - Canone alla sesta (Con moto)
00:01:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

20
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 19 - Allegro vivace
00:01:16

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

21
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 20 - Allegro
00:00:52

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

22
Goldberg Variations. BWV 988: Variation 21 - Canone alla settima (Andante con moto)
00:01:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

23
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 22 - Alla breve
00:01:00

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

24
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 23 - Allegro moderato
00:01:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

25
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 24 - Canone all'ottava (Allegretto con moto)
00:01:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

26
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 25 - Andante espressivo
00:05:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

27
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 26 - Allegro
00:00:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

28
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 27 - Canone alla nona (Un poco vivace)
00:00:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

29
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 28 - Allegro
00:01:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

30
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 29 - Brillante
00:00:59

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

31
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 30 - Quodlibet (Moderato)
00:02:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

32
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria da capo - Andante espressivo
00:03:12

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

33
Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: No. 5 Chaconne (arr. Busoni)
00:16:01

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Ferruccio Busoni, Arranger - Dong-Hyek Lim, MainArtist - Dong Hyek Lim, Piano

© 2008 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2008 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

Album Description

There have been all manner of recordings released of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and to list them would stretch this review out into virtual infinity. But until pianist Dong-Hyek Lim's 2008 recording of the work, there had never been a recording that made the Goldberg Variations appear to be a Romantic work. Now there is: the South Korean's recording is highly, deeply, intensely, and passionately Romantic. And how is it that the quintessential, indeed, the epitome, of Baroque keyboard works can be made to sound as if it were a product of the Romanticism? First, there's Lim's warm and nuanced tone, his brash virtuoso technique, and his blended textures. But more important than these is Lim's interpretation, which eschews both repeats and objectivity. By skipping each variation's repeats, Lim keeps the music moving forward as a narrative rather than as a series of tableaux vivant, granting the work a drama and drive that few other performances can claim. Even more significantly, Lim espouses a subjectivity that makes the fast variations sound like flights of incandescent joy and the slow variations sound like studies in despondency and despair. For purists, Lim's performance may be abhorrent. But for those whose tastes are more inclusive, Lim's performance may be gratifying. Whatever reservations one may or may not have concerning Lim's Goldberg Variations, however, cannot apply to his Chaconne from the D minor solo violin Partita arranged for piano by Ferruccio Busoni. In his superlative transcription, Bach's work is transformed into a Romantic monument to Faustian striving, and in Lim's staggering performance, Busoni's transcription receives a performance that nearly rivals Michelangeli's sublime performance for heart-stopping magnificence. All Lim's performance lacks is experiences and maturity, and one looks forward to hearing him re-record the work in another 20 or so years. EMI's digital piano sound is clear, rich, and vivid.
© TiVo

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