Nathaniel Mander’s debut recording for ICSM Records with Bach’s Goldberg Variations is one of the projects that were accomplished in 2020 during the pandemic. The result is another marvellous sound achievement by Tony Faulkner and a brilliant performance by Mander:
“I have always wondered why so many performers decide to make multiple recordings of the Goldberg Variations throughout their careers, but, having just recorded my first version, I can see exactly why.
For all the complexities and intricacies of Bach’s keyboard writing, there are almost no specific musical instructions. Even where there are registration directions, Bach often gives you a choice. This allows for such a personal approach. For me this time around I’ve gone for a very direct and pure account, without the optional repeats and really grounding myself in so many of the elegant and poised dances, which are infused into each variation and so fundamental to the eighteenth-century aesthetic. The extremes of emotion that Bach crystallises within his superlative writing for the harpsichord seem to give endless inspiration for both the player and the listener, and it was no different for me when I first felt inspired to record my version of the Goldberg Variations. A bold choice for a debut recording, but I was ready to accept Bach’s challenge!
I used my own harpsichord for this recording. I find the sound of the treble extremely pretty, and the depth and power of resonance very appealing, making it the right sort of expressive instrument on which to play Bach’s music.
I’ll leave the music to speak for itself, but will conclude with Bach’s own objective. This is music to lift and refresh the spirits! It always does for me and I hope it will for you.”
“Mander manages to charm with his performance, always eloquent and convincing in its spareness. His sound, reduced to essentials, in its sublime nakedness, is offered as sacrifice, as gift to bestow upon the divine and the human.
Tony Faulkner has masterly captured the sound: this is a recording which will satisfy even the most demanding palate.”
Andrea Bedetti, Music Voice, Italy