This is where the musicologist uncharacteristically recommends something utterly anachronistic. Having loved Janine Jansen and Co.'s string trio arrangements of the Bach inventions, reviewed on October 1, I now refer you to this outstanding recording. It is not in my collection -- yet -- and it came to my ears completely at random, through my car radio, one of the reasons why it is so good to have classical radio again at WETA. Let me just say that I listened to the whole thing. The Russian violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky last played in Washington in 2004 (Jens reviewed it, but I missed it). In 1985, Sitkovetsky made a string trio arrangement of the Goldberg Variations, followed by this extraordinary arrangement for strings with harpsichord about ten years later. When trying to teach how to render counterpoint at the keyboard, teachers tell students to think symphonically or vocally, to color each voice independently. Rather than one mind trying to conceive how the individual strands of the keyboard voices should sound, you have an entire chamber orchestra, all those minds and musical sensibilities, play the Goldberg Variations. The arrangement, as always, is an interpretation of the work, using pizzicato attack for example to lighten up less important lines. However, the interpretation is enlightening, and the playing is profoundly beautiful.
Available at Amazon:
Goldberg Variations, arr. Dmitry Sitkovetsky, NES Chamber Orchestra, H. Grossman (1995)