Friday, October 26, 2007

How Long was That??

Nimble Tread reports from London on a performance of the Goldberg Variations by Simone Dinnerstein that took 97 (ninety-seven) minutes. Ninety-seven minutes?? That sounds like she played every variation with two repeats.

I heard Jeffrey Kehane play the Goldbergs, with all repeats, at Music@Menlo a couple of years back. He took no more than the length of a CD, and maybe a little less; yes, it was a wonderful performance. (We all took a lunch break and, for an encore, he played the Diabelli Variations. "Well, I never have to do THAT again," he remarked in the closing Q&A session.)

Ninety-seven minutes?? Um....

9 comments:

rootlesscosmo said...

I recently uploaded Gould 1955 and Gould 1981 to my iTunes library and had the opportunity to compare the running times: about 38 minutes (!!) for the earlier version, around 52 for the later, and in both cases the da capo Aria is substantially slower than the first time around.

97 minutes is really amazing--Variation 25 must have gone on for days.

Mike Walsh said...

Well, the work was commissioned as an antidote for insomnia, so perhaps this was a very faithful rendition.

Romain Kang said...

Richard Egarr's recording comes out at 90 minutes. See the discussion
on the Bach Cantatas website
.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Wow.

Bryan said...

You have to be careful comparing these times, because some players take the repeats and some don't. Gould's first recording didn't, mainly because Columbia wanted to fit it onto a single LP.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Sure - and lots of recordings that take all repeats fit on one CD.

Bryan said...

I was mainly responding the the comparison above of Glenn Gould's two versions. While the later one is somewhat slower, it includes many more repeats, so the running times don't mean the newer tempos average anywhere near as low as 38/51 the speed of the old.

By the way, I heard a concert by Paul Hersh once in which, like Kahane, he played the Diabelli and Goldberg's back to back (I don't remember which was first).

Lisa Hirsch said...

And how was that concert?

Bryan said...

It was maybe 20 years ago, but I remember liking it, and it holding my interest. As I recall, he gave lectures about the pieces beforehand as well.