J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was first published in 1741 and is considered the most ambitious composition ever written for harpsichord – an impressive piece of one – up manship. As pianist Jeremy Denk said about it;
the piece begins with an initial melody, the Aria, followed by 30 short but brilliant variations built on eight notes that Bach appears to have borrowed from Handel. One of the most beautiful thing about the Goldbergs is that Bach uses it as a canvas in which to draw this seemingly infinite world of possibility, he grabs from everybody; he basically does a mashup. He does things in the style of the French overture, in the style of different dances; he does lamenting — from the smallest to the largest, from the happiest to the saddest.
This is the first creative commons recording of Bachs masterpiece and started life as a kickstarter funded project. Its now available to you entirely for free so download it and play with it as you wish. It was recorded by Kimiko Ishizaka and performed on a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial piano in Berlin.
This recording is a big deal. This work is over 270 years ago and public domain scores and recordings are hard or impossible to find. So it’s your lucky day. Pass it on to people you think would enjoy it.
Here’s what people have said about pianist Kimiko Ishizaka:
“She has matured into a high-profile soloist.”
“Ishizaka played the six preludes and fugues from the Well Tempered Klavier with an impressively differentiated touch of expression, allowing the music to breathe beautifully, in keeping with the spirit of Bach, who wished for a ‘cantabile style of playing’.”
“Time and again the music plunged into the shadows of the extremely cautious and nuanced pianissimo range”
Mathias Nofze, The Bonner General-Anzeiger
“She played with total focus on both the bass lines and the varied harmonies of this complicated composition, providing an appropriately rich variety of tempos. It was remarkably well-reproduced with only minimal pedaling: despite the piano lid being completely open, the lines were always clear and audible. “
“The clearly contoured yet richly contrasted musical structures unwound expressively in the intimately introspected slower variations, alongside the faster passages”
“A truly extraordinary, top-class piano evening!”
Felicitas Zink, The Rundschau
Via Open Culture
179 total views, 1 today