“The acclaimed Iranian-American musician is rekindling enthusiasm for an often derided instrument—and he’s not done yet.”
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
In the polarized world of classical music, where battles often rage over issues of interpretation and authenticity, Mahan Esfahani is the rare harpsichordist known for mesmerizing performances of both early music and contemporary repertoire. The acclaimed Iranian American musician is an unapologetic champion of the harpsichord, devoted to restoring the Baroque mainstay to what he sees as its rightful place at the center of concert music. Esfahani has been praised for his crisp articulation and a thrillingly dynamic style on an instrument that famously resists extremes. Here, in a recital perfect for Valentine’s Day, he plays Bach’s timeless Goldberg Variations, best known on piano but originally composed for his instrument: “Esfahani feels like the harpsichord’s answer to the young Gould—exuberant, antisentimental, bracing” (The New Yorker).
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