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Kurt Rodarmer
The Goldberg Variations for Guitar

Goldberg Variations - Transcription for Classical Guitar
Contents: The Goldberg Variations - BWV 988
Artist(s) / Instrumentation: Kurt Rodarmer - Classical Guitar
Playing Time: 73m36s
Recording Type: CD - Stereo - DDD
Year: 1996
Label / Catalog: Pangaea Productions
     This is an amazing recording which will undoubtedly become one of my favorite discs of all time. The Goldberg Variations have always been one of my favorite Bach works. I own 10 recordings of this work and I recently ordered number 11. The instrumentation of these recordings varies from the original instrument, Harpsichord to Piano, String Trio, String Orchestra, Organ, and now, the Classical Guitar.

     Kurt Rodarmer's transcription is true to the original score. Multi-tracking and two specially made guitars have allowed Kurt to play this work exactly as written. One of the most amazing aspects of this recording is the fact that Kurt was able to multi-track the various voices while retaining the unity of a solo performance. The individual voices are clearly separated but the phrasing makes it perfectly clear that it is a single person playing this work and not an ensemble. His vibrato is subtle and adds to the performance a dimension which is not possible with keyboard instruments. Likewise, his other dynamics are equally appropriate and enhance the enjoyment of the work. Some of the ornamentation was different from what I am used to but I have heard many variations ( no pun intended ) on ornamentation throughout the many versions I own.

     Two special guitars were commissioned for this project. One standard, and one tuned down to the bass register. The quality of the tone is relatively consistent throughout the range of both instruments. I have yet to hear a tone as warm, rich, and beautiful from any other classical guitar. Kurt Rodarmer's technique is impeccable. The parts with string and fret noise are few and far between. Some noise is inevitable in classical guitar performances but it is hardly noticeable in this recording.

     I have no complaints about this disc. The booklet is very well designed and contains information about the work, the instruments, and the performer. I highly recommend this recording. At over 73 minutes, you certainly get your money's worth from this disc.

     Although not available in stores at this time ( in the U.S. at least ), this CD is supposed to be released soon by Sony Classical. In the meantime, you can order it from Pangaea Productions ( No 6-8 weeks for delivery, I got mine within a few days. Order it now, Sony might not get their act together for a while. ) They also have some audio files ( 'aiff' format ) of this amazing recording. There are a few RealAudio clips in the RealAudio section of this site.

     For more information about Kurt Rodarmer, check out Pangaea Productions at http://www.ppr.com and Famous Guitarmaker Internet World Headquarters at http://www.cybozone.com/fg/rodarmer.html. Also, check out The J.S. Bach Home Page's recommendation of this recording at http://tile.net/bach/goldbergkurt.html.

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