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Published: 2012/02/15
by Ron Hart

Dan Tepfer
Goldberg Variations/Variations

Sunnyside

Brooklyn piano wunderkind Dan Tepfer first heard Bach’s Goldberg Variations at 11 years of age, when he was playing chess at his friend’s house and the kid put Glenn Gould’s masterful 1981 interpretation of the work on the hi-fi to soundtrack their match.

It sounds like something straight out of a Noah Baumbach script, doesn’t it? But it’s the honest-to-God truth, as revealed by Tepfer himself during an interview conducted by veteran music journalist Bradley Bambarger in the press kit for the release of the pianist’s own interpretation of “The Goldbergs”—his second album for solo piano.

However, Dan is too far expressive a musician to merely pull some kind of karaoke trip on Bach’s 1741 keyboard study. Rather, he aimed to do Gould one better by delivering his own freeform renditions of the arias and movements in addition to the original versions themselves, offering two distinct views on these indelible works while showcasing Tepfer’s own advanced chops in the classical realm.

This is a masterful display of this artist’s talents as both an interpreter and improviser that should kick open the door for this cat to grow as both a performer and a composer beyond the scope of anyone’s imagination.

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