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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Gold Star for Goldberg”

December 11, 2012

Dear Michael,

You’ve outdone yourself, if that is possible. The Goldberg Variations show was simply fabulous. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this particular show, and for all the shows you do. Each one has brought me joy. I'm going to ask you to do something you are going to hate to do. As per your website and show, each of the artists who played one set of variations has also recorded all the variations. Which of those albums would you recommend? I know each is probably perfect in its own way, but I'm not going to buy all of them. So.if you would.Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
John Holecek, Director, McPherson Opera House, McPherson, KS



These things are so personal...I have my tastes, but you have yours, and who am I to tell you what to get. But, since you ask, I enjoy the Guillou, in part because he is so unconventional in his way with music (makes it sound as though he is improvising it), and the little Kleuker organ offers many colors that are sometimes beyond the normal. Stephen Tharp provides a compelling and vivid interpretation, too, on the big Fritts organ in Columbus. Matt Curlee's version is interesting because it is recorded on the "E. Power Biggs" Flentrop organ at Harvard. None of them is bad...if you like their approach. You should relisten to the program online and see if the excerpts used there 'tell you something'....and then make a choice. Good luck, and let me know what you finally decide to do (and how you like that recording, once you get it home and listen all the way through....)


John responds,

Hi Michael, I listened to the program once again. You obviously chose excellent renditions of the variations by the featured artists. They were all good, and I didn't know what to do so I ended up ordering the Guillou, which I enjoy immensely.


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