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Fanfare, July 2005

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Jed Distler
ClassicsToday.com, January 2005

"Naxos' so-called "house pianist" Jeno Jandó is on top form in Bach's Goldberg Variations. He takes after Glenn Gould's perky tempos, dry-point articulation, and blueprint clarity, but on his own terms. For starters, Jandó does not link up variations without pausing or adapt a common pulse to unify groups of variations, opting instead to treat each one as a separate entity. Furthermore, Jandó takes all of the repeats, including the rare one in the Aria Da Capo that Weissenberg and Gavrilov observe. He embellishes some repeats more than others do, or simply phrases differently on the second go-rounds, albeit not to Murray Perahia or András Schiff's elaborate specifications.

If Jandó doesn't set records for speed, scintillation, and absolute rhythmic steadiness in the cross-handed variations, they still manage to swing, with plenty of breathing room to boot. Jandó takes a harder-nosed look than usual at the minor-key variations, as if he weren't interested in the canon at the fifth's melodic profundity or the canon at the seventh's wrenching chromatic zingers. And next to the inner drama and extraordinary harmonic tension Perahia illuminates in the famous "black pearl" 25th Variation, Jandó is relatively reticent. He also tends to scale his dynamics between mezzo-forte and mezzo-piano, although this may result from the close, somewhat airless, though not unattractive microphone placement. All in all, Jeno Jandó's Goldbergs add up to a solid, recommendable bargain alternative to the reference versions listed above."





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