Won-Sook Hur’s Goldberg Variations: Anonymous Perfection

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 9

Won-Sook Hur plays Bach’s Goldberg Variations impeccably. There’s not one note out of place, and there are no questionable tempos. Ornamentation is conservative at best. On the repeats, Hur varies her emphasis slightly in regard to articulation or voicing. She presents a pleasant, agreeable, well groomed, carefully crafted Goldbergs that will not threaten, not confront, not assert itself, nor offend. Nor will her playing capture your imagination, nor will it stir your soul. This interpretation is about as individual as a toothpick in a box of toothpicks. Each variation emerges on a uniform and neutral emotional level, where the dynamic range never strays from a comfort zone between mezzo-piano and mezzo-forte. It’s all anonymously perfect and perfectly anonymous. Perhaps that’s what Hur intends. Perhaps that’s what her public expects and enjoys. No further comment is necessary.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Perahia (Sony); Schiff (Decca); Sims (TwoPianists); Gould (Sony); Rana (Warner Classics)

  • Won-Sook Hur (piano)

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