Though nowadays played on all manner of instruments, from harp to accordion, the Goldberg Variations was originally written for harpsichord. However, hearing this masterful performance by Robert Costin on the Pembroke College organ, it's impossible to imagine that Bach, an accomplished organist, didn't compose it on such an instrument. Right from the wistful charm of the opening “Aria”, the organ's timbre is a model of acoustical grace, a perfect union of instrument and space, and as Costin launches into the Variations, its full majesty is revealed in rich, satisfying sonorities that build to an epic climax with the “Variatio 30 –Quodlibet”. A marvellous, engrossing performance by a true master.
Download: Aria; Variatio 19; Variatio 20; Variatio 21; Variatio 30 – Quodlibet