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Bach Goldberg Variations

Sublime poetry Four Star **** (The Sunday Times)

With the battle to gain recognition as tough as it is, nobody should blame any artist with a tale of triumph over adversity for telling it. Yet the liner notes to van Bloss’s debut avoid specific reference to his condition (a television documentary told of his Tourette s in 2007), and his account of the Goldberg Variations is very good indeed: fresh, but cogent and entirely unselfconscious. If there is a slightly stately intellectualism in the canons, there is also sublime poetry, playfulness and, above all, a relish of what the modern piano can bring to this music in terms of dynamics, colour and articulation. –Stephen Pettit, The Sunday Times

A rewarding Goldberg  (The Sunday Observer)

This is the debut CD of British pianist Nick Van Bloss who, in 1994 aged 26, stopped playing for 15 years. He had just participated in a televised recital at Poland’s Chopin festival, which gives an idea of his early reputation. Anyone who saw a 2007 BBC Horizon documentary about him will know he suffers Tourette syndrome. I listened in happy ignorance of his biography, only discovering after. The fluidity of line, the unforced lyricism not always thought an allowable word with Bach, but just listen to this and the clarity of structure and counterpoint make you sit up. In a crowded market, and in any circumstance, this is a rewarding Goldberg. –Fiona Maddocks, The Sunday Observer

Mesmerising effect (The Independent)

Nick Van Bloss is a young concert pianist with a backstory – in his case, an affliction with Tourette’s Syndrome so intense that his compulsion to touch objects repeatedly in strict rhythmic sequence was studied by Dr Oliver Sacks for his book Musicophilia. That compulsion actually plays to the needs of a concert pianist, where precision is paramount, and Van Bloss employs it here to mesmerising effect, as he slips easily between, say, the measured ‘Variation 4’ into the brilliant cascade of ‘Variation 5’. What makes Bloss’s Goldberg Variations even more remarkable is that until a month before the session, he had never played the piece. –Andy Gill, The Independent

Nick Van Bloss gave up playing in 1994 in the throes of Tourrettes Syndrome. After a book and TV doc, he returns to the piano in Bachs mighty set, which he makes sound like a stroll in the park. Lovely phrasing and fabulous sound (Michael Haas in the producer), Bloss can clearly play anything without fear. –Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musical


Release Date
January 2011

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