"The cover art, Bronzino's "Dama in Rosso", is a fitting visual analog for Chiara Massini's style of harpsichord playing. She streches and molds musical time in the same way that mannerist painters like Bronzino altered human proportions to elicit a novel perception in viewers. Her sense of timing has less to do with rubato than with an extreme, mannered Italianate mode of expression tied as much to gesture as t language. Her articulation, ornamentation, and holding of notes past their written value serve the music splendidly. I can say with confidence that had Bach had the chance to hear this performance he would have learned someting about his beloved variations that he did not already know. For its joyfulness, spontaneity, and inventiveness this release is given my highest recommendation.
Katz, American Record Guide
"Chiara Massini's 2007 recording of the Goldberg Variations on harpsichord is a triumph on many levels. On the surface, the bravado of her playing surprises and delights at every turn, especially impressive in the strong drive of the left hand and exciting forward motion of each variation. Digging a little deeper, the care taken to present each variation as a unique entity reveals a great deal of thought and understanding of rhythmic and harmonic structure. Happily, she repeats each "A" and "B" section - I always wondered if Glenn Gould's decision to play the aria and each variation "AAB" was in order to keep the length of the performance to within one LP (i.e. the market dictated). On the deepest level, her playing is disciplined, controlled and unromantic which is such a breath of fresh air. Her interpretation, as it were, is to present the piece as written, with exquisite ornamentation, brilliant sense of line and a deep understanding of the way the piece is put together.
Larry Beckwith, Wholenote, online magazine, Canada
"[...] Already with the first phrase, she profiled herself as an exceptional artistic personality who brings these selected works by Italian composers to life with ingenious liberties. Nevertheless, she never sounded mannered; whenever she bent the rules of musical rhetoric, her rubato, executed with stylistic certainty and sheer delight, injected itself organically into the course of the movement.
Already in the introductory toccatas of Frescobaldi, the fragile harpsichord sound unfolded into the church in colorful blossom; Massini's suspenseful playing successfully captured the affects' polymorphism and illuminated the music's harmonic boldness. [...] The melodic charm and the perfect proportions of the music of Domenico Zipoli unfolded under Massini's sensual grasp in all their radiance [...]
Julia Waldstein, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten
"[...] It was with determination and imagination, that Chiara Massini led an enchanted audience through the Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach. The determination was expressed through the clarity and accuracy of the numerous virtuoso sections and the imagination by the flexibility of her phrasing, the variety of sound and the charm of her non-stereotypical agogics. [...]"
Daniela Iotti, Giornale di Reggio
"The italian harpsichordist Chiara Massini offered a program of 17th- and 18th-century music that showcased a strong technique and a freewheeling interpretive approach [...]
Massini's recital included Bach's Goldberg Variations and her playing here showed a deep familiarity with it.
She also did well with another Bach selection, the early E minor Toccata (BWV 914), where her precise playing and intuitive sense of the music's drama made this a vivid performance. The same was true for a toccata in A major by Alessandro Scarlatti.
All these are pieces in which the player is expected to keep her listeners dazzled and expectant, and Massini did just that for her enthusiastic St. Paul's crowd [...]
Her work could help revive interest in the earlier music of the great keyboard composers of the distant past.
And here is an artist who evidently has the intellectual curiosity to seek it out."
Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Artspaper
"Life without music is simply a mistake, a strain, an exil"