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Jean Rondeau|Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bach: Goldberg Variations

Jean Rondeau

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 A few weeks after the release of pianist David Fray’s magnificent performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Goldberg Variations, Jean Rondeau’s harpsichord versions were released on the same Erato label. Two proposals, two visions, two perspectives. Whilst David Fray takes his listeners on a long, emotional journey (which could even be classed as a sort of “Winterreise” before its time), Jean Rondeau instead takes inspiration from Scarlatti. The harpsichordist’s version of The Goldberg Variations almost feels like a response to the thirty Essercizi per gravicembalo (“exercises for the harpsichord”), a selection of thirty sonatas composed by the Italian and published in London in 1739. The Goldberg Variations were published in 1741 as the fourth part of the Clavier-Übung (a German term meaning “exercise[s] for the piano"), though the date of their initial composition may be earlier.



Less concerned with the structure of the ensemble as some of his colleagues, Jean Rondeau expands upon each variation, making each one sound completely different, yet still beautifully complete—just like a sonata by Domenico Scarlatti. The Frenchman isn’t the only one to offer such a proposal either, with Ignacio Prego (Glossa) also releasing his own version of The Goldberg Variations back in 2015. Jean Rondeau’s harpsichord is of unparalleled beauty, having been built by Jonte Knif & Arno Pelto and based on a German model. The incredible sound recording immerses the listener into the very heart of the instrument, a hypnotic experience which causes all concern for logic to fade away. Rondeau plays with rhythm, reinvents dance patterns and offers a stunning portrayal of each of the Veränderungen throughout this anthology which exposes Europe’s musical preferences during this era. You’ve likely never heard the Variation XIV like this before (not even Pierre Hantai’s (Mirara) version comes close), it’s so unrestricted and free. Moreover, the expressive scope of the minor variations is simply breath-taking (variation XXI. Canone alla settima). It’s impressive from every standpoint and never fails to intrigue. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Jean Rondeau

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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

1
I. Aria
00:05:28

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

2
Variation I
00:02:13

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

3
Variation II
00:01:47

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

4
Variation III. Canone all'unisono
00:02:24

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

5
Variation IV
00:01:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Variation V
00:02:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

7
Variation VI. Canone alla seconda
00:01:49

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

8
Variation VII. Al tempo di giga
00:01:53

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

9
Variation VIII
00:03:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

10
Variation IX. Canone alla terza
00:02:35

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

11
Variation X. Fughetta
00:02:09

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

12
Variation XI
00:02:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

13
Variation XII. Canone alla quarta
00:04:15

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

14
Variation XIII
00:07:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

15
Variation XIV
00:02:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

16
Variation XV. Canone alla quinta in moto contrario
00:06:14

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

17
Variation XVI. Ouverture
00:03:33

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

18
Variation XVII
00:03:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

19
Variation XVIII. Canone alla sesta
00:01:26

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

20
Variation XIX
00:01:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

21
Variation XX
00:02:47

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

22
Variation XXI. Canone alla settima
00:03:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

23
Variation XXII
00:01:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

24
Variation XXIII
00:03:18

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

25
Variation XXIV. Canone all'ottava
00:03:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

26
Variation XXV
00:10:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

27
Variation XXVI
00:02:43

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

28
Variation XXVII. Canone alla nona
00:02:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

29
Variation XXVIII
00:02:19

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

30
Variation XXIX
00:02:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

31
Variation XXX. Quodlibet
00:03:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

32
Aria da capo
00:05:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Jean rondeau, Harpsichord, MainArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2022 Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Limited

Album Description

 A few weeks after the release of pianist David Fray’s magnificent performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Goldberg Variations, Jean Rondeau’s harpsichord versions were released on the same Erato label. Two proposals, two visions, two perspectives. Whilst David Fray takes his listeners on a long, emotional journey (which could even be classed as a sort of “Winterreise” before its time), Jean Rondeau instead takes inspiration from Scarlatti. The harpsichordist’s version of The Goldberg Variations almost feels like a response to the thirty Essercizi per gravicembalo (“exercises for the harpsichord”), a selection of thirty sonatas composed by the Italian and published in London in 1739. The Goldberg Variations were published in 1741 as the fourth part of the Clavier-Übung (a German term meaning “exercise[s] for the piano"), though the date of their initial composition may be earlier.



Less concerned with the structure of the ensemble as some of his colleagues, Jean Rondeau expands upon each variation, making each one sound completely different, yet still beautifully complete—just like a sonata by Domenico Scarlatti. The Frenchman isn’t the only one to offer such a proposal either, with Ignacio Prego (Glossa) also releasing his own version of The Goldberg Variations back in 2015. Jean Rondeau’s harpsichord is of unparalleled beauty, having been built by Jonte Knif & Arno Pelto and based on a German model. The incredible sound recording immerses the listener into the very heart of the instrument, a hypnotic experience which causes all concern for logic to fade away. Rondeau plays with rhythm, reinvents dance patterns and offers a stunning portrayal of each of the Veränderungen throughout this anthology which exposes Europe’s musical preferences during this era. You’ve likely never heard the Variation XIV like this before (not even Pierre Hantai’s (Mirara) version comes close), it’s so unrestricted and free. Moreover, the expressive scope of the minor variations is simply breath-taking (variation XXI. Canone alla settima). It’s impressive from every standpoint and never fails to intrigue. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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