Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) – virtuoso organist and composer of a wealth of orchestral, chamber and vocal music – is one of the most influential composers ever to have lived, one whose works form an established part of the repertoire of every instrument for which he wrote. This collection comprises the Goldberg Variations BWV988, a composition that takes its name from a young pupil of Bach, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who was in the service of Count von Keyserlingk. The Count was a notoriously bad sleeper, and requested of Bach a series of pieces for Goldberg to play to him when he could not sleep; he then considered the work to be ‘his’, although it is widely referred to by the name of its performer. The variations are in groups of three, with the last in each group being a canon and the final variation weaving together two popular song melodies into a quodlibet. The variations range in character, and feature fughettas, a French overture, ornamental slow arias as well as virtuosic pieces for two manuals.
The Goldberg Variations are played on a variety of different instruments. The first CD features organist Pieter-Jan Belder, and the second Yuan Sheng on piano. The variations of CD3 are performed on the organ by Elena Barshai, while the Amati String Trio – Gil Sharon, violin; Ron Ephrat, viola; Alexander Hülshoff, cello – feature on the final disc of the collection.
- Recorded 1999–2012.
- Bach’s Goldberg Variations have gained iconic status. Ever since the legendary recording of Glenn Gould in 1955 it took the world by storm, and its popularity reaches well beyond the boundaries of traditional classical music audiences.
- Originally written for “Clavecimbel mit zwei Manuale” the perfect counterpoint and instrumental brilliance of the 30 variations invite for performances on other instruments, finding new facets and hidden treasures in this immensely rich music.
- This set brings together 4 performances on different instruments, a fascinating journey of comparison, wonder, awe and joy!
- Booklet contains liner notes and biographies.