J. S. Bach, Goldberg Variations (with DVD "liner notes"), J. Denk
Other disappointments included inconsistent rhetoric like random ornaments added on random repeats, varying articulation on repeats, ad hoc eliding of variations, and a lack of a common approach to musical figures. Similar musical figures, or shapes, were often articulated differently, leading to a linguistic confusion. Denk attempted to distract listeners from this confusion by moving the rhetoric from the score to his face and gestures. Twice in the program Denk turned his head to stare intensely at the audience at his favorite moments: first at a pivotal moment harmonically in the opening movement of Mozart’s Sonata No. 15 in F, which opened the program; second at a point in the Fughetta of Variation Ten in the Bach. This over-the-top gesture was effective in the exquisitely balanced Mozart, and less so in the Bach.
Robert Battey, Pianist Jeremy Denk’s ‘Goldberg Variations’: A revealing journey into the soul (Washington Post, October 14)
The next pianist featured by WPAS will be Yuja Wang, in a recital at Strathmore (October 25, 8 pm).