One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Goldberg Variations, BWV988 (1741) [79:19]
George Malcolm (harpsichord)
rec. September and December 1961, London
ELOQUENCE 482 8439 [79:19]

Eloquence’s fine work in reissuing a swathe of George Malcolm’s recordings has answered a plea I made when reviewing the restoration of Millicent Silver’s c.1957 Goldberg Variations (see review). The question was; who is going to reissue George Malcolm’s superbly conceived recording of the Variations? The answer is, of course, Eloquence.

Silver is little remembered now but she and Malcolm were near-contemporaries and shared something of a similar approach toward the non-doctrinaire approach to Baroque repertory, though Malcolm was far more the vitalizing colourist. He recorded the Variations in 1961 on his accustomed Thomas Goff harpsichord. Whereas Silver’s recording was private, Malcolm’s was released on two L’Oiseau-Lyre LPs in 1963 and received wide international exposure.

He takes all repeats and vests them with a wide variety of registers and colours, constantly beguiling the ear and keeping any sense of predictability at bay. It was a kind of aesthetic mantra of his to ensure that the music should be kept constantly alive and the Goff was the perfect instrument for an individualist such as he, not least in the span of the variations where contrast is constant. Malcolm’s disdain for diktat on historical performance issues can be savoured in the clangorous vitality of the bass registers in variation 3, in the suavely, almost comically ponderous approach to variation 4, in the blizzard of colouristic and articulation changes in No.7, and the flourish that ends No.16. Similarly, he vests No.20 with an almost bucolic treble and allows the Black Pearl variation to flow at a natural pace unburdened by any conception of it as a locus of melancholy; instead it has a certain grace and a sure sense of mobility. No.28 typifies his use of trills, the play of left and right hand (incipiently theatrical, joyous), colour and repeats, which tend to become brighter and clarion.

His articulation is never mechanical or hard. Rhythms can be fluid and flexible and there’s often a dulcet quality to his playing that remains inimitable. He also brings a sure sense of wit and bravura to the variations. As ever the rectitudinous will frown on elements of the music-making but for most listeners this much-admired performance will prove ever life-enhancing and vividly, playfully, seriously human.

Jonathan Woolf

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger