ALEXANDER GURNING : GOLDBERG VARIATIONS (HYBRID SACD STEREO)

“The soul of a poet” according to Le Monde de la Musique (FR), Alexander Gurning is one of the most original and accomplished musicians of his generation. Equally at ease in classical, jazz or contemporary music, Alexander studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (BE) and at the Moscow Conservatory (RU). He rose to fame as a pianist in the world acclaimed Soledad ensemble devoted to Tango Nuevo, traditional tango, contemporary music and jazz.

After receiving many awards for his first solo recital in the ‘Martha Argerich Presents’ series (Choc du Monde de la Musique), Alexander now returns to the core of the classical music repertoire with a fascinating recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The artist toured the work extensively in Europe to great acclaim before tackling the recording sessions.

Alexander Gurning: “For me Bach’s music doesn’t just talk about his own life, but about all our lives. He reaches out to us. And if we follow him, he shows us ourselves”.

 

FR :

«L'âme d'un poète» selon Le Monde de la Musique (FR), Alexander Gurning est l'un des musiciens les plus originaux et les plus accomplis de sa génération. Aussi à l'aise dans la musique classique, le jazz ou la musique contemporaine, Alexander a étudié au Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles (BE) et au Conservatoire de Moscou (RU). Il connait ses premiers succès en tant que pianiste de l'ensemble Soledad acclamé à travers le monde pour ses interprétations du Tango Nuevo, du tango traditionnel, de la musique contemporaine et du jazz.

Après avoir reçu de nombreuses récompenses pour son premier récital solo dans la série «Martha Argerich Presents» (Choc du Monde de la Musique), Alexander revient aujourd'hui au cœur du répertoire classique avec un enregistrement fascinant des Variations Goldberg de J.S. Bach. L'artiste a parcouru l'Europe avec cette œuvre avant d’en livrer sa version aux micros d’avanticlassic.

Alexander Gurning: «Pour moi la musique de Bach ne raconte pas sa propre vie, mais la vie de nous tous. Il nous tend une main amicale. Et si nous le suivons, il nous met face à nous-même. "

 

DE :

„Die Seele eines Poeten” nannte die französische Musikzeitschrift Le Monde de la Musique Alexander Gurning einmal. Er ist einer der originellsten und vollkommensten Musiker seiner Generation und in der klassischen Musik ebenso zuhause wie im Jazz oder der modernen Musik.

Alexander studierte am Koniglichen Konservatorium von Brüssel und am Moskauer Tschaikowksy-Konservatorium. Als Pianist des Tango- und Jazz-Ensembles Soledad wurde er weltweit einem größeren Publikum bekannt.

Für sein erstes Solo-Album, das in der Reihe ‘Martha Argerich Presents’ erschien, erhielt Alexander den Preis Choc du Monde de la Musique. Nun kehrt er zurück zum klassischen Repertoire mit einer faszinierenden Neueinspielung von Bachs Goldberg-Variationen. Bevor er ins Aufnahmestudio ging, tourte der Künstler mit diesem Werk ausgiebig Europa.

Alexander Gurning: „Für mich erzählt Bachs Musik nicht nur das Leben des Komponisten selbst, sondern unser aller Leben. Bach streckt die Hand nach uns aus. Wenn wir sie ergreifen, führt er uns zu uns selbst.“
 

Goldberg-Variationen - Goldberg Variations – Variations Goldberg BWV. 988

1. Aria 2.29
2. Variatio 1 a 1 clav. 1.25
3. Variatio 2 a 1 clav. 0.57
4. Variatio 3 Canone all’unisono 0.54
5. Variatio 4 a 1 clav. 0.45
6. Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 clav. 0.39
7. Variatio 6 Canone alla Seconda 0.50
8. Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 clav. 1.45
9. Variatio 8 a 2 clav. 0.52
10. Variatio 9 Canone alla Terza a 1 clav. 1.36
11. Variatio 10 Fughetta a 1 clav. 0.48
12. Variatio 11 a 2 clav. 1.03
13. Variatio 12 Canone alla Quarta in moto contrario 1.35
14. Variatio 13 a 2 clav. 2.50
15. Variatio 14 a 2 clav. 1.04
16. Variatio 15 Canone a la Quinta in moto contrario a 1 clav., Andante 2.32
17. Variatio 16 Ouverture a 1 clav. 1.16
18. Variatio 17 a 2 clav. 0.55
19. Variatio 18 Canone alla Sesta a 1 clav. 1.13
20. Variatio 19 a 1 clav. 1.26
21. Variatio 20 a 2 clav. 0.52
22. Variatio 21 Canone alla Settima 2.14
23. Variatio 22 Alla breve a 1 clav. 1.14
24. Variatio 23 a 2 clav. 1.35
25. Variatio 24 Canone all’Ottava a 1 clav. 1.25
26. Variatio 25 a 2 clav. 4.20
27. Variatio 26 a 2 clav. 0.54
28. Variatio 27 Canone alla Nona 1.32
29. Variatio 28 a 2 clav. 1.08
30. Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 clav. 1.32
31. Variatio 30 Quodlibet a 1 clav. 2.04
32. Aria 3.01
 

Review

"Several readings of the Goldberg Variations have come my way recently: ... Gurning outperforms them all", July 2012, Fanfare Magazine

"There seems to have been a fairly constant stream of new Goldbergs over the last year or two. Alexander Gurning adds his contribution to the work’s burgeoning discography, and a fine account it is, too. Right off, he holds the listener’s attention with a concentration that is palpable, more of the concert hall than the recording studio. He shapes the Aria affectionately yet he does not smother it, and in doing so we hear it as pregnant with possibilities. The precision of Gurning’s articulation is immediately obvious in the first variation. Both hands are equals, indeed all digits seem to be equals, enabling Gurning to highlight voices clearly and without strain, in turn enabling us to hear the score without distraction.

Intriguingly, Gurning states that one of his ideas is to treat the Goldberg Variations with “a dramaturgy that is unique to the world of the Bach cantatas.” It works. There is the feeling of an unfolding narrative, a narrative replete with possibilities of which Bach only allowed us to hear an hour’s worth. Perhaps that is how he can create such stillness in variation 15 (“Canone a la Quinta in moto contrario”), then immediately invoke a theatrical atmosphere in the ensuing “Ouverture.” Variation 25 also conjures up this same oasis of calm. Over and over again one senses Gurning’s sensitivity and humility in his desire to serve Bach well (I should point out that I write this the morning after experiencing Lang Lang’s “Emperor” at the Royal Albert Hall, London, with the Philharmonia and Salonen, where the pianist was all and Beethoven was somewhere in the background).

The almost pointillist variation 20 seems to prefigure variation 23, where one can almost hear Bach straining to be Webern. The magical poignancy of the return of the Aria is as satisfying as in any version I have encountered.

Belgian pianist Gurning (of Polish/Indonesian parentage) has links with Martha Argerich, who introduced him to the Lugano Festival. Before that he studied at the Brussels Conservatory and with Lev Naumov and Victor Merzhanov at the Moscow Conservatory. His credentials are impeccable, and seem to have led to an integrity that is immediately audible in this release. Several readings of the Goldberg Variations have come my way recently: .... Gurning outperforms them all. The SACD recording is impeccable, beautifully rendered and with perfect presence."

FANFARE: Colin Clarke

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