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Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Played by Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord)

K-1

Bach: Goldberg Variations [K-1]

Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord)

Opus 111 3084

Jun 9-11, 1992

CD / TT: 77:26 / 77:31

Hantaï. Recorded at Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands.
1st recording of Goldberg Variations BWV 988 by P.
Review: Hantaiís Bach
Discussions: Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Pierre Hantaï
Buy this album at:
CD: Amazon.com
Music Download: ClassicsOnline

353

Stupeur et Tremblements - Bach: Variations Goldberg [K-5]

 

Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord)

Naïve
Mirare 9945

2003

CD / TT: 77:12 / 78:40

Recorded at Doopgezindekerk de Haarlem, Holland.
2nd recording of Goldberg Variations BWV 988 by P. Hantaï.
Review: Hantaiís Bach
Review: Pierre Hantai's 2nd Recording of the Goldberg Variations
Discussions: Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Pierre Hantaï
Buy this album at:
CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.com

Another Hantai recording of the Goldbergs?

Pierce Drew wrote (November 5, 2003):
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000T6KEG/

Could someone determine whether the recording in the above link is a new Hantai recording of the Goldbergs,
or a reissue of his earlier, award-winning recording.

Thanks,

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 5, 2003):
[To Pierce Drew] Looks like it's a new one, since it's full price and on a different label than the first.

Douglas SA wrote (November 5, 2003):
[To Pierce Drew] Yes, it is a new one. Haven't heard it yet but I hear that Pierre has changed quite a few things in his approach to the Goldbergs. He is a very fine player and I am eager to hear it.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 10, 2003):
[To Douglasa SA] I'd say, if you already have the Opus 111 issue (that superlative 1992 performance on a 1985 Mietke/Kennedy harpsichord), don't order the "new" one on Naive. Naive's issue of that for the film "Stupeur et Tremblements"
earlier this year is just a repackaging of the same recording. I've checked its samples at: http://www.jpc.de/jpcdb/artsearch/showjpcart.html?hnum=7848995
...it's the same as the old CD. (And the reviewer in American Record Guide Nov/Dec 2003 has confirmed the same thing, reviewing it directly.)

Other recordings have also "crossed over" from Opus 111 to reissue on Naive: a current favorite of mine is the set of Hasse's C major requiem, Miserere, and four motets: http://www.jpc.de/jpcdb/artsearch/showjpcart.html?hnum=5727759

=====

But, on the other hand, Pierce Drew's question below was about one with different cover art again. Douglas may be right about this one being entirely new. That Amazon.fr page doesn't say what label this one's on, to be released later in November; anybody know?

My point is: we shouldn't AUTOMATICALLY jump for a new Hantai set until we're absolutely sure it's new; the one on Naive is not.

If the one shown at Amazon.fr really is a new one, I will indeed probably pick one up sometime, as a Hantai fan. His harpsichord-playing is usually so beautifully expressive, with crisp brinkmanship.

However, I am disappointed with his part in the Virgin disc 45350: several of the Bach flute sonatas with his brothers, recorded in 1998. That one strikes me as lacking his personality and range...it just seems straightforward and cautious, and low on energy (by his usual standards). I never thought I'd find a Pierre Hantai performance that was that monochromatic and metronomic. Too much editing, perhaps? And Marc Hantai's delivery of the solo partita 1013 is really bland in that same way: an Urtext-reader's dream, with mind-numbing consistency.

And because the opening movement of the A-major sonata 1032 is partly missing from the manuscript, they simply omitted this movement altogether instead of playing a reconstruction. That, to me, is an example of logical positivism at its worst: getting strong performers to discard good music out of hand because it isn't 100% certifiably Bach.

If Pierre Hantai's new (?) Goldbergs have swung in this same direction of logical positivism, reducing his remarkable expressivity and musical insights to soulless mediocrity, I will not buy it. Such an approach kills the music, IMO.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (November 10, 2003):
< But, on the other hand, Pierce Drew's question below was about one with different cover art again. Douglas may be right about this one being entirely new. That Amazon.fr page doesn't say what label this one's on, to be released later in November; anybody know? >
It's on Mirare, Brad, another small French label (the same that published Hantai's WTC).

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 10, 2003):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Thanks Riccardo!

Is Mirare really starting a complete Scarlatti set with Pierre Hantai, as advertised here?
http://www.abeillemusique.com/result.php?mots=&label=65&ref=&x=16&y=17

I'll certainly have to pick that one up, to go along with his earlier Astree disc of 22 sonatas.

And that disc of cantatas sung by Montserrat Figueras' daughter looks tantalizing, too. Don't miss their gorgeous duet in a new Arvo Part piece in this album: Amazon.com

Riccardo Nughes wrote (November 10, 2003):
< Is Mirare really starting a complete Scarlatti set with Pierre Hantai, as advertised here? http://www.abeillemusique.com/result.php?mots=&label=65&ref=&x=16&y=17 >
I'm almost sure I've read on the French press that Mirare has scheduled the release of the complete Scarlatti sonatas, I'm not sure 100% that Hantai will be the only player involved. BTW a similar project is going on Stradivarius label : the first 6 volumes have been released featuring musicians like Sergio Vartolo, Ottavio Dantone & others. Look out if the link works: http://www.abeillemusique.com/result.php?mots=scarlatti&label=85&ref=&x=7&y=18
otherwise make a simple research on abeillemusique site. As you will see harpsichord is not the only instrument used for these recordings.

Pierce Drew wrote (November 10, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] You should check out the new Hantai recording of the WTK, Book 1. BBC Music gave it a positive review, as did Gramophone, although with some reservations -- that it was at times "perplexing."

But, judging from your comments, I think you would like this one. Upon first listening the recording did not impress me, but after listening to it repeatedly over the summer, I began to hear the unusual and uncoventional things that Hantai does with the music. Some of it is quite exhilirating -- for instance the C minor prelude which leaves you without breath!

And, BTW, the (apparently) new Hantai Goldbergs are on Mirare (Ambrosie), the same label that the new WTK I is on, which is distributed by Harmonia Mundi, I believe.

 

Hantai Goldbergs

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 23, 2003):
The new Hantai Goldbergs were favorably reviewed in this month's French magazine Diapason. They included an excerpt on their CD: variations 14 and 15.

Since this is available on the CD, I assume that disit does not violate any copyright, and you can download it here: http://www.mcelhearn.com/hantai_14_15.mp3

I'll leave the file up for a few days then delete it.

I'll be curious as to your opinions, especially concerning the sound of the instrument.

Nessie Russell wrote (November 24, 2003):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Thank you for this Kirk. Very Impressive. I prefer piano. I think the recording companies who give out a couple of free MP3 tracks of a CD are doing themselves a favour. I am more inclined to buy a CD if I have heard a couple of tracks for myself.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 24, 2003):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Enjoyable, thanks Kirk!

I especially like the way he boldly separates the figures in variation 14: treating them as crisp mordents (but written out in full-sized noteheads by Bach) in the falling and then rising arpeggios. Tremendous energy,
too. Variation 15, by contrast, is plainer but still has good flexibility, a nice balance. Hantai makes the canonic strands clear as lines. Well done. In this variation 15 he makes me think of Elgar's favorite character word "nobilmente." And the instrument has a "speaking" quality that I feel works very well in this music: no overdone amount of sustained tone.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 24, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] What about the sound of the harpsichord? To these ears, it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom...

Curiously, on the same disc, there was an excerpt from Scott Ross' complete Couperin recordings, which were just re-released. Listening to one after the other I was shocked - Hantai's instrument is harsh, covered with reverb, whereas Ross sounds almost like he's playing with a lute stop: smooth, subtle, no (or very little) reverb...

I think part of this is changing trends in sound, but I certainly like Ross' instrument better. In fact, I'm very tempted to buy his Couperin based on that bit I heard.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 24, 2003):
From the .mp3 sample you posted, Kirk, it sounds to me like fairly close miking; but not outlandishly so. On my computer speakers here it doesn't strike me as "harsh" but of course it would sound quite different on a good
CD player.

May we hear the Ross sample, too?

As for bathrooms, that's where Joan Benson's clavichord CD of Kuhnau and CPE was recorded. And a fine album it iô0_ü___3_ä._oo; I like the way her playing sounds so improvisatory and passionate. Here's a posting by David Kelzenberg, who was a production assistant on it: http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9811&L=hpschd-l&P=R418
And an earlier one from Joseph Spencer, mentioning that that Benson project was Peter Nothnagle's first recording: http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9604&L=hpschd-l&P=R17875

Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< What about the sound of _3_ü___5_ô0_harpsichord? To these ears, it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom...

Curiously, on the same disc, there was an excerpt from Scott Ross' complete Couperin recordings, which were just re-released. Listening to one after the other I was shocked - Hantai's instrument is harsh, covered with reverb, whereas Ross sounds almost like he's playing with a lute stop: smooth, subtle, no (or very little) reverb...

I think part of this is changing trends in sound, but I certainly like Ross'_5_ü__$7__3_strument better. In fact, I'm very tempted to buy his Couperin based on that bit I heard.
>

 

Hantaïís new Goldbergs

Craig Schweickert wrote (February 3, 2004):
Pierre Hantaï's new recording of the Goldberg Variations (Mirare MIR 9945, recorded in 2003 in Haarlem, NL) was on the "nouveautés" rack at Archimbault today. As no list member has reviewed this, I thought I'd post my impressions based on -- please bear this in mind -- a single listen. What's more, I listened during dinner and so didn't follow along with a score. And I apoligize for the jumble of thoughts; I don't have time for anything other than a brain dump.

Rhythmically alive. Tempi, especially in the first half, are often deliberate, though they don't feel slow; some of the fast movements are very fast indeed. Liberal rubato and markedly varied touch, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, rarely mannered and often throwing new light on the music. Totally unsentimental approach. Contrapuntally extremely clear. What a left hand the man has! Playful: wryly at times, rambunctiously at others. Variation 3 is cantabile, more ensemble than aria; 13 as profound as any I've heard; 14 surprise!; 16 played with tremendous flourish and some heavy breathing; 17 too fast?; 20 quicksilver; 23 guffaw-inducing; 25 fantasia-like; 26 wonderfully fleet; 29 building great momentum; 30 less momentous than usual. The final aria didn't leave me feeling like I'd come home, like I'd been taken on a trip, as strongly as some other versions do, yet the time (a minute and a half shy of 80 minutes) has never passed quicker. The impressive instrument was built in 2002 by Jonte Knif and Anro Pelto based on unspecified German models. Clear, sweet recording best heard at lowish volumes lest mechanical noises intrude. In short, one of the more original, thought-provoking and, therefore, absorbing Goldbergs I've encountered.

Have any other members heard this? If so, what are your impresions? How does it differ from Hantaï's Virgin recording (which I've only heard once and never seen for sale)?

Johan van Veen wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To Craig Schweickert] When I was preparing a review of another recording (Lajos Rovatkay) for MusicWeb I used Hantaï's new recording as comparison, and Hantaï came out on top. That as such doesn't tell very much, since Rovatkay's recording is very disappointing: very rigid, straighforward and lacking variety. I haven't listened to Hantaï more than one time (although with the score), but in general I share your impression. I think it is a very good performance. I don't know the first recording by Hantaï, so I can't compare the two. The overall approach reminds me of the recording by Bob van Asperen I have.

 

Hantaïís Goldberg

Farhad Saheli wrote (March 5, 2004):
I looked for a long time for Hantai's first recording, but couldn't find it, so I bought the new one. It is unbeliveably good. Is the first recording different? And if the answer is yes, in what respects? And this has recently shown up on amazon.com: Amazon.com

Does anyone know whether it is a new recording or one of the old ones??

Uri Golomb wrote (March 5, 2004):
[To Farhad Saheli] Since this album is on Naive -- which now distributes Opus 111 recordings -- I assume it's a re-issue of Hantai's older recording.

Donald Satz wrote (March 5, 2004):
[To Farhad Saheli] There are some differences between the two versions. The older one is more exuberant with rhythmic regularity. The newer one is a little slower and sharper with more hesitations and rhythmic irregularities. The newer one also conveys a greater breadth of emotional content.

Craig Schweickert wrote (March 5, 2004):
[To Farhad Saheli] Hantaï's earlier Opus 111 disk is out of print. However, the recording was used as the soundtrack for the film "Stupeur et tremblements" and has been reissued as such on Naïve, which is the disk you link to. Packaging aside, it appears to be identical to the first Hantaï disk. As it retails at full price, I haven't bought it and so can't comment on its differences with Hantaï's latest take. Hard to imagine enjoying it more than the new Mirare disk, which continues to provoke, amaze and delight.

Donald Satz wrote (March 5, 2004):
[To Craig Schweickert] I don't think it's a matter of which version is more enjoyable - depends more on the mood of the listener. If you're feeling serious and looking for nuance and depth, the new Hantai is preferable. If you want feel happy and vibrant, the older version would likely be more appealing.

Drew Pierce wrote (March 5, 2004):
Donald Satz wrote: < If you're feeling serious and looking for nuance and depth, the new Hantai is preferable. >
I completely agree. I have a number of GV recordings (on harpsichord) which I enjoy, but have a hard time listening to in one setting (not that one has to, as Schiff opines).

Hantai's #2 is different -- there is an artful1 sense of pace, and space to breath. Instead of being a whirlwind tour of the aria and 30 variations, one gets the impression that Hantai is taking a leisurely stroll, savoring the unique beauty of each "site" he encounters along the journey.

BTW, Don, do you have any further thoughts on Rousset's English Suites?

And what do listmembers think of Richard Egarr's new Bach recital "Per cembalo solo . . ." (Harmonia Mundi), which is a Gramophone Editor's Choice recording for the upcoming April issue?

Donald Satz wrote (March 5, 2004):
[To Drew Pierce] I don't really have any further thoughts on the Rousset - did I have any initial thoughts? So far, I've only listened to parts of the set and noticed that the sound might be on the reverberant side. Before the Rousset, I need to dig into the Suzuki set of the French Suites and finish up my review of the new Hantai. Then it's on to Rousset and dozens of other discs.

 

Goldberg Variations BWV 988: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019
Comparative Review: Goldberg Variations on Piano:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Comparative Review: Round-Up of Goldberg Variations Recordings:
Recordings | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
GV - R. Barami, J. Crossland, O. Dantone, D. Propper | GV - M. Cole | GV - J. Crossland | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - S. Dinnerstein | GV - R. Egarr [Lehman] | GV - R. Egarr [Satz] | GV - R. Egarr [Bright] | GV - Feltsman | GV- P. Hantai | GV - P. Hantaï (2nd) | GV - K. Haugsand | GV - A. Hewitt | GV - R. Holloway | GV- H. Ingolfsdottir | GV - J. Jando | GV - B. Lagacé | GV - G. Leonhardt | GV- K. Lifschitz | GV - A. Newman | GV - T. Nikolayeva 3rd | GV- J. Payne | GV - W. Riemer | GV - C. Rousset | GV - S. Schepkin, M. Yudina & P. Serkin | GV - A. Schiff [ECM] | GV- H. Small | GV - M. Suzuki | GV - G. Toth | GV - K.v. Trich | GV - R. Tureck [Satz] | GV - R. Tureck [Lehman] | GV- B. Verlet | GV - A. Vieru | GV - J. Vinikour | GV - A. Weissenberg | GV - Z. Xiao-Mei
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Quodlibet in GV | GV for Strings
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
GV - D..Barenboim | GV - P.J. Belder | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - S. Dinnerstein | GV - R. Egarr | GV - V. Feltsman | GV - C. Frisch | GV - G. Gould | GV - P. Hantaï | GV - R. Holloway | GV - J. Jando | GV - K. Jarrett | GV - G. Leonhardt | GV - V. Makin | GV - A. Newman | GV - S. Ross | GV - A. Schiff | GV - R. Schirmer | GV - H. Small | GV - G. Sultan | GV - G. Toth | GV - R. Tureck | GV - S. Vartolo | GV - B. Verlet
Article:
The Quodlibet as Represented in Bachís Final Goldberg Variation BWV 988/30 [T. Braatz]

Pierre Hantaï: Short Biography | Recordings of Non-Vocal Works
Reviews of Non-Vocal Recordings:
Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 from Pierre Hantai | Bach's Toccatas for Harpsichord from Watchorn & Troeger (3 Parts) | Hantaiís Bach | Pierre Hantai's 2nd Recording of the Goldberg Variations | Review of Savall Musical Offering
Discussions of Non-Vocal Recordings:
Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Pierre Hantaï

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Last update: żOctober 20, 2006 ż12:48:42