BACH: The Goldberg Variations BWV 988, string trio version – The Gaede Trio – (Tacet 4.0 SACD)

by | Jun 4, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BACH: The Goldberg Variations BWV 988, string trio version
–  The Gaede Trio – Tacet multichannel (4.0) SACD S 70, 90:04 (CD
layer: 68:40) ***1/2:

The very flexible Goldberg Variations may be and has been performed by
many different instruments as well as by solo keyboards. The Gaede Trio
plays a string trio version by Sitkovetsky for violin, viola and
cello.  First, to the timing listed above: I didn’t know it was
possible to get more time on a SACD than on a standard CD but if the
above figure is correct, Tacet seems to have expanded the limit by ten
minutes. Yet the jewelbox also lists: “CD Version: 68:14.”  That
is a version of the variations in which all the repeats have been
edited out in order to reduce the total time to fit the limitations of
the hybrid SACD format, which would not allow three 90 minute programs
on the single disc. 

With a trio it would seem the ideal multichannel recording setup would
be three front channels – in other words using the center channel, but
this SACD is only four channel.  However, Tacet is known for an
experimental attitude to working with the spatial possibilities of
multichannel.  So Producer/Engineer Andreas Spreer asked the
musicians to vary their sitting positions relative to the two front
microphones, depending on the musical requirements of each separate
variation in the set of 30.  This they did, so if the three
instruments seem to be moving around a bit from one track to another,
it’s not your imagination. (For more active spatial movement see the
review of the Tacet Peter and the Wolf!)  Being an occasional
harpsichordist myself I find the trio approach less interesting than
some of the Goldberg alternatives, but anyone deeply into string
quartet literature would probably appreciate this interpretation more.

—  John Sunier

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