J.S.Bach, Goldberg Variations
Berlin Classics / Edel
Unabashedly pianistic, broad, repeat-taking, and never the sappy, wallowing-romantic cliché-packed type of performance that Simôn Dinnersteen brings to the keyboard (WETA review, ionarts review). Schirmer manages to display a great sense of calm and repose all awhile being vigorous and rhythmically forceful. She doesn’t display the velvety touch of Perahia, or any of the wilfullness of Feltsman (never mind Stadtfeld), or the steady forward momentum that Koroliov establishes. But she creates an immediate sense of personality and conviviality, which is more than can be said about most of the, usually superfluous, additions to the bulging Goldberg market.
This was the debut album on Berlin Classics for Schirmer, who has since gone on to provide surprise bestsellers, like her 2009 album of all of Handel’s keyboard sonatas. Had I heard her Goldberg Variations earlier I might have been less surprised about the consequent success, even if closely confined to Europe and particularly her native Germany. The double CD (running 87 minutes and accompanied by a fine essay by Ewa Burzawa) has been re-released this month in an attractive digi-pack. Not a must-have, when there are so many worthy Goldberg Variations on the piano, but a "great-to-have".