“Bach has always been a great passion of mine,” says Nicholas Angelich, probably best known as an interpreter of the German Romantics, and described by Gramophone as “a formidable player … whose performances … are of a wholly exceptional drama, sweep and impeccable craftsmanship.” Now Angelich has recorded one of the landmarks of the Baroque keyboard repertoire, Bach’s magnificent Goldberg Variations, adding to a Virgin Classics discography which currently reflects The Guardian’s description of the pianist as “a master Brahmsian”.
In a complex and monumental work like the Goldberg Variations – comprising an aria and 30 variations and lasting well over an hour – a satisfactory balance between overall architecture and structural detail is a vital factor. As Angelich said, “It is very important to take the score and ask yourself good questions about it …The more you look into it over the course of time, the more new fresh details you will see. It is a great thing, to see the whole, the global structure, and the inside, with its often quite minor details. This enables you to grasp, to reconcile the connection between the big picture, the overall framework, and the inner detailing of the piece. If you are doing something in your interpretation – in a certain line – that might perhaps sound beautiful in a way, but which has no connection to the whole, then something is plainly not right. We always try to find out what sounds right and what is right. Is this a kind of intellectual exercise? Maybe, but I would say that it is also a matter of instinct, with the score as the leading voice for the interpretation.”