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Topic: Goldberg Variations  (Read 860 times)

Offline lmpianist

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Goldberg Variations
on: February 09, 2020, 04:55:06 AM
Somehow I never got around to listening to this piece until recently, and I'm now completely hooked on it and bathing in G major ecstasy.  I'm trying to learn a couple of the variations.

I went in initially trying Variation 14 because it was my favorite, and I quickly learned that it had enormous difficulties for me, mainly the crowded hand crossings and issues with articulation and ornamentation.  I left it and spent some time on just the aria, Variation 1 and the quodlibet, as well as some other easier Bach pieces that I'd been working on before (allemandes, courantes, and sarabandes of french suites II/V and gigue from V) then went back to Variation 14 and actually managed to make some good progress with it, and can play the first half now, at a medium speed.  It feels strange spending so much time with hands crossed and it's a little disorienting to try to sight read this way, but that's the way with so much of this piece I guess.  Many of my favorite variations happen to be the faster ones, like 26, 11, 5, 29.  I think I actually like some of these more than 14 by now.

Anyway, does anyone that has studied the Goldbergs have any general words of wisdom?  Did you learn then sequentially, or canons first, or some other method?  Were there any that ended up being easier than you expected, or that sound harder than they are?  I was finding with Variation 14 that my right wrist was getting sore after not very much time practicing it, so I need to figure out what's going on with that and avoid injuring myself over it.  Probably just too much tension and need to relax.  Also, and I'm completely serious, listening to Gould so much, part of me wants to sing at the same places he does in his '81 recording :(

I doubt I'll learn the whole piece and I'm not worried about ever performing it, but I'll probably spend at least a few more weeks on various parts of it, I'm enjoying it too much.