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Bach/Sitkovetsky Goldberg Variations and 15 Sinfonias

Dmitry Sitkovetsky (violin) Yuri Zhislin (viola) Luigi Piovano (cello)

Nimbus Alliance

The multiplication of Goldbergs on disc from Landowska via Glen Gould to today is never-ending, and a newer tendency (a very welcome one) has been for Arrangements.

Sitkovetsky did his for string trio in the '80s (I didn't like it much - "pleasant enough for five or ten minutes, un-Bach-like though it sounded, but increasingly tedious and eventually repugnant as it grew into perhaps the lengthiest string trio I'd ever encountered" but the string orchestra version at Queen Elizabeth Hall was pleasing.

For this recording he has revised and shortened his trio transcription with fewer repeats and "an injection of youthful energy throughout"... I found that a bit overdone, but shortening the Goldbergs has left room for the 3-Part Inventions, which many of us will have laboured at when learning the piano, but maybe heard them rarely since then.

They go very well indeed, and make this disc a strong contender for a place on a crowded shelf. (Sitkovetsky has over 40 string transcriptions and is negotiating publication of several).

Of others that had come my way, I like József Eötvös's for guitar and love Uri Caine's. Most recently is Joseph Petric's for oboe and accordion, good in prospect (the accordion is a favourite instrument of mine - still generally under-rated in 'classical' music) but although arrangement for two reed instruents seemed a good idea, I just don't like the sound of the accordion with the oboe here.

Peter Grahame Woolf