After a four-year break from the BBC Proms, Sir András Schiff took to the stage on 22 August 2015 for an highly anticipated and unforgettable late-night performance of Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’. Sir András played to a capacity audience at the Royal Albert Hall, who remained collectively silent and captivated throughout, being drawn into the complex layers of each virtuosic variation.
“Schiff awakens the listener’s imagination in his extraordinary colouring of each phrase. Embellishing repeats, remaining focussed and precise in the quicksilver hand-crossing passages, maintaining a consistent rhythm, and picking up on Bach’s wit (particularly in the spirited Variation 23), Schiff’s performance was kaleidoscopic.”
“Schiff’s Bach is ultimately persuasive because of its consistency; by the return of the ‘Aria’ (which fascinatingly offered a reduced use of decoration) it felt as though we had witnessed the construction of a great Baroque edifice. This was what felt truly impressive and special about a reading in which nothing seemed out of place. It was a privilege to be in the company of such great music and such a great musician.”
“The emotion was restrained and the virtuosity was dazzling, with lightning hand-crossings and cascades of triplets spattered with trills, and at the dark heart of the work – Wanda Landowska’s ‘black pearl’ variation – he cast a spell from which one could sense the entire hall subsequently awaken.”
You still have the chance to enjoy this wonderful event when it is broadcast on BBC Four on 3 September 2015 at 19.30, when you can also hear Sir András in conversation with Kirsty Wark. Now available on BBC iPlayer