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Goldberg Variations - Matthew Halls - Dallas Morning News

25 February 2010
Dallas Morning News
Lawson Taitte

Players who properly play all the repeats in Bach's Goldberg Variations and take them leisurely find that their performances don't quite fit on a single CD. Up-and-coming British harpsichordist Matthew Halls has come up with an ingenious solution. He breaks the long work into two parts, which Bach himself consciously did, to begin with, and programs earlier Bach variations sets before and after.

The probably inauthentic Sarabanda con Partite is a find: The last four variations make up a proper baroque suite, making a work within the work.

In the main event, Halls at first seems among those baroque specialists who fuss around too much with the rhythms and make listeners seasick. But he can steady down and build kinetic climaxes when he chooses.

Most impressively, his performance of the long, slow Variation 25, the climax of the Goldbergs, is the most convincing and most moving I've ever heard.

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J.S. Bach: Goldberg VariationsJ.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations