The relentlessly intricate architecture of the Goldberg Variations still engage scholars after hundreds of years, while the soothing, noble poetry and formidable technical demands of the piece continue to captivate players and listeners.
A number of legendary performances of this monumental work have been recorded on piano as well as on harpsichord and organ - two of the most popular and highly regarded ones were recorded on the piano by Glenn Gould in 1955 and 1981.
Bach wrote the work with a two-manual harpsichord in mind, which makes the challenge for the pianist even greater – the many hand-crossings, possibly inspired by Scarlatti’s keyboard music, is much easier to perform on two manuals.
Johann Nicolaus Forkel wrote in his Bach biography (1802) that the Variations had been commissioned by the Russian Ambassador to Saxony Count Kaiserling, who suffered from insomnia. Goldberg was a young musician, who according to Forkel’s (probably spurious) version of events, was supposed to play from the Variations during the Count’s sleepless nights to cheer him up a little.
Rather than just varying the melody of the Aria, the thirty variations are built upon its bass line. Every third variation is a canon at increasing intervals, except the final, thirtieth variation, a so-called quodlibet, mixing a number of popular tunes - including one that goes "Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, had my mother cooked meat, I'd have opted to stay". After this the heavenly Aria with its elusive beauty returns to close the work.
I recently started trying to play Bachs goldberg variations, and I am mostly interested in variations 1 and 3, but it is insanely hard for me. I have just a little more than 1 year of piano lessons, and I am not having lessons right now. Should I just continue trying or this is omsething only for more experienced players ?
Hello, I've noticed that in this edition, in his modified scores above the original text, sometimes he transposes and flips things to different clefs etc.... but I don't understand sometimes they are actually different notes!
For instance look at page 22 (Variation eight) Bar 20 and see if you can make sense if the alternate text above the original, the notes don't match!
Forgive my ignorance...as I am sure there is an explanation
I'd like to know the grade (I know that grades are all subjective) for the first variation. I like it so much, so beautiful. I have looked at the score, it doesn't seem that hard. Is it harder than it looks ? I'd love to play it, but I don't want to mess it.
I'm not very adavanced. Here's what I have played by Bach (besides the Aria from the Goldberg and Prelude in C major that everyone plays) :
Inventions no 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, ,8 , 9, 10, 13, 14 Sinfonia no 15 Menuet from French Suite no. 2 in C minor Menuet from French Suite no. 4 in Eb major Gavotte from French Suite no. 5 in G major Menuet from French Suite no. 6 in E major
I can play those very fine, I'm very comfortable with them.
I have tried about a year ago to play Prelude in C minor from WCT 1, but could not play it at tempo. That's all I have I played from the WTC. No fugue yet.
Is Variation no 1 around my level ? Or is it too advanced for me ?
i've recently recorded the 21st variation from the goldberg variations. i'd like to get everybody's comments on them. although it doesn't sound very colorful to me. thanks all. this is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81J1HE7pzs
So, this is it I've been recording my practices recently. I usually mess around and try and perform something every once in a while and this came out pretty decently (in my opinion...). And yes, I'm still cringing at the crossing hands flub, but, nothing's perfect :-/.
Critique please!! I would really appreciate it. It's only been recently that I've moved past technique problems for the most part to listening.
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