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CD Review

Johann Gottlieb Goldberg

Complete Harpsichord Concertos

  • Harpsichord Concerto in E Flat Major
  • Harpsichord Concerto in D minor
Waldemann Döling, harpsichord
Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble/Emil Tabakov
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG6010250-2 70m DDD
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Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is today primarily remembered because of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations', a composition based on one of his themes. Born in 1727, Goldberg was one of Bach's most gifted pupils. He was sent to study with the great master at the age of fourteen, after being discovered by Count Keyserling during one of the latter's trips between Russia and Saxony. The boy's enthusiasm helped his musical training no end and he was son making progress by leaps and bounds.

In a short period of time, he flourished into a musician of exceptional virtuosity, and in the field of harpsichord concertos he became the foremost German composer of the mid 18th century. Although he died prematurely in 1756, he managed to attain a phenomenal reputation. He is said to have performed some of the most taxing pieces with consummate ease, not only at first sight, but also when the manuscript was turned upside down.

Although his style reminds one of C.P.E. Bach's keyboard concertos, his individual voice is strongly evident in the abrupt shifts between deep emotion and humour. The two concertos on this disc feature many trailblazing aspects and their exploration of new musical dimensions puts them at the very forefront of the composer's oeuvre.

Waldemar Döling captures all the brilliance and passion of these works in magisterial interpretations of unique versatility. Alas he is no longer with us, but this historic 1985 digital recording is a wonderful testimony to his art as performer not only as a harpsichordist but also as a renowned percussionist. Orchestra and conductor also offer sympathetic support.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech