Bach: Goldberg Variations - Bassoon Consort Frankfurt
MDG Scene 903 1914-6
Classical - Chamber
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Bassoon Consort Frankfurt:
Henrik Rabien, Lena Nagai, Felix Eberle, Charlotte Sutthoff, Thomas Gkesios, Leon Kranich, Merve Selcuk, Kathrin Mayer, Stephan Krings
The Frankfurt Bassoon Consort is formed by eight bassoons and a contrabassoon. Its guiding spirit Henrik Rabien has arranged Bach’s Goldberg Variations for this unusual ensemble – a daring feat whose success has been undisputed ever since the acclaimed première in May 2013. Rabien’s arrangement goes far beyond pure instrumental navel gazing: the nine instrumentalists produce tonal refinement most excellently harmonizing with Bach’s virtuosic play between linear counterpoint and vertical harmony.
Unlike many other arrangements, Rabien’s work systematically maintains the original key of G major/G minor. The instruments merely require transposition down by an octave – with a sensational effect: the contrabassoon contributes a profound bass without its equal! This particularly lends what is absolute orchestral opulence to the fully instrumented variations, and in the more intimate parts the extremely flexible playing of the versatile continuo player also makes for pure listening pleasure.
Rabien employs his instrument from the duo to the nonet. Variations of genuinely breathtaking virtuosity that one would normally not think of entrusting to the bassoon alternate with cantabile parts in which the instrument is completely in its element. And when in the concluding quodlibet fine art intertwines the two folk songs with the aria, the bassoon also makes its humorous appearance. One thinks
that one can hear the old Bach chuckling!
In Henrik Rabien’s arrangement the undisputed summit of variation artistry acquires a completely new dimension – reason enough that the home audience should not have to rest content with a mere stereo reproduction. This finely balanced Super Audio CD offers genuine 3-D listening pleasure in HD quality: natural tone colors and fantastic transparency afford a profound glimpse of this unrivalled masterpiece.
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