J S Bach: Goldberg Variations

This recording’, says accordionist Samuele Telari, ‘is one that I felt compelled to make. Every time I play Bach’s Goldberg Variations I realise that something changes inside me, and as a consequence in my interpretation as well. The piece is a kind of mirror into which I can look and see what is inside me. Finally, after performing it many times in concert over several years, I felt ready to fix a version in a recording.’

Telari’s instrument is essential to his conception of this eternally fresh, kaleidoscopic work. The accordion’s bellows bring out and intensify dynamic contrasts in the slower variations, while the sparkling, faster ones are powered by a pure virtuosity that flows along the two manuals, imitating or chasing one another in resonant stereophony. Bach’s immortal masterpiece shines with new light here, keyboard dexterity meeting a string-like expressivity, both heightened by Telari’s interpretative subtlety and impeccable control.

"a performance that strangely works, the naturally abrasive wheeze of the accordion charmingly reminiscent of an antique portative organ, and Telari’s manipulation of Bach’s contrapuntal jigsaw as skilfully and artfully untangled as by any keyboard virtuoso ... High-speed Variation 20 goes like the clappers, and Variation 7, Al tempo di Giga, would go down a storm at any Scots Ceilidh. When the final recap of the opening Aria appears it seems less problematic – the ear has attuned and the spacious calm portrays a welcome destination"

★ ★ ★ ★

"This whole recording is so joyful ... the clarity of the counterpoint throughout is really remarkable ... the way Telari handles the voices and the voice leading, it's like a lesson in voicing. You can't help smile throughout the joy of the virtuosity. ... What's most incredible is that it's not an instrument that Bach knew, and yet Telari's playing style sits very comfortably in the historically informed tradition ... Because of the clarity of the playing, and the assuredness of the technique, it really is a fantastic journey through the Goldberg Variations. Samuele also uses the various registration possibilities of the accordion really sensitively, so your ear is drawn in, but you're not distracted by changes of sound - and the attention to detail keeps your ear really alive, so you don't think you've been listening for a long time, because each variations has something exciting, new and silvery to offer..."


'The Goldberg Variations seem to lend themselves naturally to being arranged for a wide variety of different solo instruments and ensembles. Last year, Parker Ramsay produced a wonderful recording of the Goldbergs for solo harp, and this new recording bySamuele Telari performed on a solo accordion, while certainly not the first (there are already excellent recordings on accordion by Teodoro Anzellotti and Andreas Borregaard, to name two), this album is beautifully recorded and performed'


"There’s no questioning the suitability of the two-manual accordion in taking on the Goldbergs, given the work’s two-manual harpsichord origins, and Telari sticks closely to Bach’s musical expression. It’s quite a feast of solo accordion ..."

Release Date: 23 July 2021
Catalogue No: DCD34257
Total playing time: CD1 45:20, CD2 47:35

Recorded on 25-27 August 2020 in The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh 
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter 
24-bit digital editing: James Waterhouse & Paul Baxter 
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter 
Cover & session photography: foxbrushfilms.com 
Design: John Christ 
Booklet editor: John Fallas 
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2. Variatio 1 a 1 Clav

'Telari belongs to a generation of artists whose overwhelming musicality goes beyond their instrument'

— Il Sole24Ore


Samuele Telari shows off his laser-precise technical skill during recording sessions in Edinburgh's Queen's Hall, September 2020 ...

Part of the YCAT series on Delphian

This partnership between Delphian Records and YCAT offers rare new recording opportunities for the most promising young artists, combining YCAT’s mission of developing careers at a world-class level with Delphian’s twenty-year-long reputation for bold, considered programming. The partnership will give the artists a unique experience – from initial concept planning, recording and editing to the final packaged and digital product – and will enhance Delphian and YCAT’s commitments to nurturing artists’ artistic development and long-term careers.

Read more about the partnership and discover the range of releases here

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