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The German pianist Marie Rosa Günter, born in 1991, has studied with Wolfgang Zill and Bernd Goetzke, both of whom were pupils of the distinguished pedagogue Karl-Heinz Kämmerling. As such, she has been well trained, as anyone must be who ventures into the crowded field of recordings of the Goldberg Variations. A decade ago, she was placed first at the National Bach Competition for Young Pianists in Köthen, Germany. Yet at times this CD sounds a trifle dogged, vehement, and adamant, especially in quicker variations.

Günter somehow sidesteps most of the inherent charm in this work, making it into a duty instead. Had Günter followed more closely the general educational example of her instructor Goetzke, who worked with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and delved widely into 20th-century repertoire, the present CD might express a bit more imagination, fantasy and variety. Competent to the point of being humdrum like an efficient nurse dispatching hospital duties, Günter’s approach to Bach is laudably pared-down.

A CD released in 2014 from Bremen Radio Hall Records (BRHCD1403) of Günter’s chamber duo with French cellist Stanislas Kim offers works by Bach, Beethoven and Franck, occasions for heavy-fingered Romanticism from Kim and self-effacing, at times mannered reactions from Günter. Playing solo Bach eliminates these flaws found in partnership, bringing out the best in Günter’s pianism. It will surely be worth hearing how her interpretations evolve in the future. Currently occupying a ‘middle ground’ in the recorded legacy of Goldbergs, Günter has yet to approach the accomplishments of Murray Perahia, András Schiff or Peter Serkin. Nor need the ghost of Glenn Gould be worried – at least not yet.

BENJAMIN IVRY Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing