Piano Street Magazine

Goldberg Variations by Bach – New Urtext Piano Sheet Music

August 25th, 2009 in Piano Street Site News, Top Video Picks by | 1 comment

New Urtext sheet music of the Goldberg Variations by Bach has been published by Piano Street today:

The complete score is now available for download for Gold members from the Piano Street Sheet Music Library.

Have a look at the FREE sheet music sample of the Aria and Variation 1 while listening to Murray Perahia playing the first part of this work.

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 by Glenn Gould (piano: 1955 and 1981).

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.

The thirty variations do not follow the theme’s melody, but rather use its bass line. Every third variation is a canon at increasing intervals, but the final variation breaks this trend and offers up a so-called quodlibet, where a number of popular tunes (among them one that goes “Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, had my mother cooked meat, I’d have opted to stay”) are used to a humorous effect. After this the heavenly Aria with its elusive beauty returns to close the work.

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  • Hiroko says:

    I am studying this work at the moment, having re-discovered the beauty of Bach in general. I must add, I am having a great time! It is wonderful to be able to listen to Goldberg played by different pianists including this one by Murray Perahia…

    so thank you!

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