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I have persisted in my study of this extraordinary challenge with growing curiosity. Why? The basis is my acceptance of Caine's sincerity, knowledge of serious music, passion for Bach, and an impressive keyboard technique. On a companion record Caine talks to Luis Gago about the many aspects of this startling experience, and the steps by which he eventually came to see this project as a springboard from Bach's musical comprehension.

On our side, as listeners, we face acres of unfamiliar sounds [listen -- CD 2 track 29, 0:01-0:42] as well as sounds and textures that are part-Bachian [listen -- CD 2, track 27, 0:23 -- track 28, 0:33]. For a two-CD boxed set of slightly under three hours' duration, there is a lot more than the urtext Goldberg Variations and some of it gets wild (to those who recall Spike Milligan and the Goon Show there might be a strange feeling.). I do not criticise Uri Caine's fantasy or the direction in which it has travelled. The wish to pay homage to Bach is his right in whatever fashion he chooses.

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Copyright © 17 December 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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