Last remaining seats to the Jpost 2017 Annual Conference! Get your special offer now

Classical Review: Phoenix Ensemble

May 8, 2012 22:16

Bach: Goldberg Variations. Christchurch, May 2.


Bach. (photo credit:Painting by Elias Gottlob Haussmann)

Bach’s Goldberg Variations, arranged for strings by Bernard Labadie, were performed by the Phoenix Ensemble of early instruments, directed by Myrna Herzog.

Arranging a harpsichord solo work by Bach for strings is a daring undertaking.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Conductor Labadie’s attitude of “anything you can do I can do better” with regard to Bach is hardly appropriate. Bach, after all, may be credited with having known his period instruments at least as well as Labadie, and probably would have used them if he had felt so inclined.

The strings’ songful sound is hardly a substitute for the harpsichord’s decisive-incisive keyboard touch, a characteristic of this work. The instrumental balance was also problematic since the delicate sounds of the harpsichord were mostly drowned out by the domineering strings.

In its unaccompanied solo variations, Marina Minkin’s harpsichord renditions sounded, therefore, most impressive.

On the other hand, the diverse tone colors of the various string instruments provided the welcome advantage of creating transparency for the work’s intricate polyphonic textures. Consequently, one could appreciate Bach’s contrapuntal ingenuity in all its glory. And that was the significant artistic achievement of this excellent performance.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

  • music
  • classical music
  • Share this article via
    from around the web
    Related Content
    Sarah Silverman
    August 26, 2014
    Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

    By JTA

    Top Stories
    Israel Weather
    • 13 - 31
      Beer Sheva
      16 - 25
      Tel Aviv - Yafo
    • 16 - 29
      15 - 27
    • 21 - 32
      19 - 34