GENERAL DISCUSSION: Bach Goldberg Variations

Seems like a few of us are interested in taking a deep dive into a few of the amazing Goldberg Variations!

 

Since we will all be busy with next month's Community Challenge, I was thinking that this project could have a longer timeline.   Perhaps we could even learn a few variations over the winter holidays?

 

What do you think about everyone learning the Aria and the each member suggests 1 variation for us all to learn? 

 

So far, I think we have about 5-6 Tonebase friends in this group, so that would be only 5-6  variations so far.  Please tag anyone else who'd like to join this "additional" challenge group!

 

Warmest regards,

Gail

 

  Monika Tusnady Susan Sindre     Pauline Juan Carlos Olite Genevieve

152replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Great idea but please!!!..no repeats! The Goldberg Variations are very difficult and learning to play even just a couple of variations COMME IL FAUT is a challenge. It might be interesting for each one of us participants 1> to find the ONE recording that resonates the most with us and 2> to learn the aria. Small bites. 

    Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I love your ideas!  I actually like beatrice rana because she is new and
      fresh.  I met her in Atlanta.  The Glenn Gould and Roslyn Tureck recordings are amazing but I think I have heard them so often that they don't inspire me as much as they used to.

       

      I have never actually worked on any of the Goldberg's but I'd like to try.

       

      https://www.beatriceranapiano.com/portfolio-items/bach-goldberg-variations-available-as-cd-lp-and-digital/

      Like 1
    • Gail Starr Beatrice plays this piece so wonderfully!

      Like
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli 

       

      So do YOU! 😊.
       

      We heard her at a lovely concert in ATL before COVID.

      Like
  • It's a great idea, Gail, how you are channeling these friends concerns about Goldberg Variations. Thank you very much for that. It's very difficult to choose, but my personal proposal is the incredible beautiful Variation 13. 

    Like 3
    • Juan Carlos Olite Thank you . Hope I can do it ! Looking forward to hearing the new microphone .  

      Like 2
    • Juan Carlos Olite That is such a special variation! Can't wait to hear you play it :)

      Like
  • mariannejhampton Please pick your favorite variation!

    Like 2
    • Great idea and I’m thoroughly looking forward to this . Thank you Gail Starr . I just opened my Henle at variation no 22 and have decided I would like to play this particular one. I learned to play quite a few preludes and fugues from the WTC this way and all these variations are gorgeous ! Simone Dinnerstein is a favorite of mine for the variations . 

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton I also want to do variation 21 as well if that’s okay ?

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton Variation 21 and 22 are wonderful! I absolutely love how the intensity of 21 gives way to the charm and dance of 22 :)

      Like 1
    • Dominic Cheli Variation 21 is definitely growing on me although it’s not easy . I am having difficulty deciding which voice is going to have the limelight at a particular time . I think that is part of Bach’s genius as although Bach writes the score the musician is able to interpret it and makes it his . 

      Like
    • Gail Starr 15 is my all-time favorite.  Moderate tempo, a great deal of expressive potential and oh my, the structure as a canon at the inversion!  

      Like
  • Hello Everyone! This is a great idea! I will join in :)

     

    I will admit that I have already performed this piece before, but it never hurts to revisit it! :)

    (From back in 2017)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypv4oO6Vz30

     

    It is SO hard to pick a favorite variation, I will probably submit several!

    A few of my absolute favorites include:

    No.1, NUMBER 4, No.5, No.7, No.25 (nicknamed The black pearl), No.30!!!!

     

    This piece is extremely difficult BUT manageable! For many of the variations they involve the need for double manual harpsichord, but CAN work well on a single-manual piano. I can offer my humble fingerings/hand crossing combinations (often different than the way the printed page suggests!) that I used for comfort and reliability if you request a certain variation!

     

    Looking Forward and thanks for starting this, Gail!

    Like 6
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Absolutely THRILLING to know that you'll be part of this group exploration of the Goldberg. You can be our metaphorical lighthouse! It's fun to be connected with a group of people who are willing to embark on a project that is still quite vague and formless, but unquestionably worthwhile. 

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli That YouTube recording is just wonderful! The theme alone almost brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Like 2
    • Dominic Cheli What a great start to my day watching/listening to your brilliant and beautiful YouTube video of the Goldberg Variations! I am so happy we will have the benefit of your expertise as we study this piece.

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I second Monika's delight!  Our little "side hustle" group of Goldberg Fans would welcome your expertise and enthusiasm with open arms.  THANK YOU!

      Like 2
    • Dominic Cheli I spent a very enjoyable hour and a half  listening to you play the variations on you tube this morning . Thank you

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady Thanks for your compliment :)

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton Thanks a lot for listening so long!!!

      Like 2
    • Susan Thanks! Indeed I hope to be able to help everyone achieve their goals with this piece!

      Like 1
    • Dominic Cheli Sorry I meant 48.17 mins !! There is also a video of you talking about the variations done in Feb this year .

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Thank you for that fantastic performance! So grateful for everything you bring to this community. Very inspiring! 

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli I finally had some free time to listen to your gorgeous recording!  I love your thoughtful and beautiful choices.

      Like 1
    • Gail Starr Thank you so much Gail!!

      Like
    • Sindre Skarelven It is my honor Sindre! Such a pleasure to be able to connect with such wonderful people like yourself :)

      Like
    • mariannejhampton Yes! I had a small lecture on some variations earlier this year!

      Like 1
      • Juanjo
      • Juanjo
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli thank you very much for your performance, impresive!. Each time I see a complete performance of the Goldbergs I'm overwellming. I think is one of the bigest challenge a pianist can do.
      After you learn a Bach pece, what kind of extra work you need to ensure memory at the public performance? Could you share some tips with us?
      I hope this is a good topic for a future tonebase lesson!
      Thank you very much for your atention Dominic

      Like
  • I love the idea of a longer time! Let’s really savor it. Plus I didn’t know how I could fit it both the regular challenges and Goldberg variations at once! Maybe instead of a “3 week challenge” it can be a “3 month challenge.”  :)  I will get back to you with my favorite variation soon. Thank you Gail for putting this together. 

    Like 2
    • Susan 3 month challenge sounds more like it for this masterpiece!

      Like 1
    • Susan Maybe we could even keep it open longer so people can add to it as they learn more variations ? 

      Like 3
    • mariannejhampton yes - I believe even after a challenge is over you can still add to the strand later if you want to share something. Or maybe this will end up being an open ended project. 

      Like 3
    • Susan open ended sounds good to me !

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton This is a life-long piece project for many people, so yes we will leave this thread open! 3 months isn't even enough time!

      Like 2
  • I've recently listened to Ann Marie McDermott's wonderful lessons on Bach's English Suite No.2 and feel that her teachings on that suite are applicable to...just about any piece of music, particularly Bach, of course. Highly recommended for inspiration. 

    Like 4
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady That lesson was INCREDIBLE!! I highly recommend it too!! Just her playing was out of this world, and that suite… another masterpiece by Bach!! 

      Like 3
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven Monika Tusnady Fabulous!  I will watch Anne-Marie's lessons once I get back after a week of meetings/travel.

      Like 4
    • Gail Starr Yes you should! I second all of the opinions above about how wonderful she is :)

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli In college I had a summer job working for her concert management.  (My degrees are in business, no music 😂)  She’s wonderful!

      Like 3
    • Gail Starr That is so cool! I got to know her quite well this past summer at the Bravo! Vail Festival. Lots of 1 on 1 interaction and performing with her :) (4 hands and even 6 hands piano music!)

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Gail Starr  You are so fortunate! Such a contact would seem life-changing!

      Like 1
  • I would like any one of these for my choice: 1, 4, 6, 10, 13, 30. I listed them all because there may be doubling up of choices as more people respond. I can narrow it down to one choice if you prefer though.

    Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Susan Super!  Maybe I should create a Google Docs where we all share the variations we've selected?  Anyone can work on any variations they like, since this is a "side hustle", longer-term challenge!

      Like 2
    • Susan These are wonderful variations! You should work on any/all that you like :)

      Like 3
    • Gail Starr That sounds great or I can do that! It would be nice to keep track of who is working on what!

      Like 1
    • Gail Starr I would love a list . Do you have it down that I would like to play 22 if no one else wants it ? I could also do 21 if given enough time .

      Like 2
  • I love this idea Gail ! I agree that this needs to be a longer project. I must play Variation 1 !!! I just love that variation so much, I have to pick that one. But it is okey to play several I guess!? Var 5 seems like a great challenge! I also would like to take on a quiet one like var 7. and maybe I can throw in var. 8 to the mix. 

    Like 3
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven I bet you will pick ALL of them, learn them this weekend, memorize them next Monday and come out with a Grammy-award winning CD on Wednesday.  I'll help you pick the cover photo for your recording! 😍

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr that is too funny! 

      Agreed, Sindre will pick all of them instead of he and I fighting over Variation1. I would also play 2, 3, and 4, but they would not make sense without 1. 

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr LOL!! Yes, absolutely!! Thank you for boosting my confidence! 😄(I probably need a week or two more.... 😅

       

      Monika Tusnady You make a valid point, Monika, there simply is no musical way to jump straight from the aria to variation 2... To me variation 1 is as important as the Aria!! 😎🎶

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven You're right about the connection between the Aria and Var. 1: we SOOOO expect that sudden burst of energy. I had thought about grouping the first four variations to set an unquestionably elegant and imaginative tone to the work from the start - something totally 21st century. 

      Are you thinking about writing your own variation? This would be quite in keeping with old practice, as Dominic pointed out, but with a contemporary twist! I would have found this to be a frightening prospect before tonebase but it seems realistic now - given a lengthy reflection time, of course. (I'm still reflecting.) 

      Like 3
    • Sindre Skarelven Number 1 is fabulous, such wonderful energy! And yes I encourage you to take a look at the softer variations as well, since they have so much beauty in them :)

      Like 3
    • Gail Starr I bet he will! 😆

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady I really like grouping the Aria with Variation 1-5! # 5 has a great amount of virtuosity to round off the set.

      Indeed composing a variation would be intimidating in the face of this monumental work but I would like to do that one day :)

      Like 2
    • Sindre Skarelven Yes! And variation 1 isn’t too hard to learn, why not just add that in order to open the door to all of the other variations!

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I'm looking very much forward to hear how you're gonna play this! I sort of feel that the words you use with 'elegance' and 'imaginative' speaks very well for what this piece is and needs in form of playing.

      I have not considered writing my own variation. I will go into the work to learn more about Bach's writing and how he twist and turns this theme. When I'm finished with that I might see if I have anything to add... :)

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Absolutely! I hope to create a nice blend of different moods and styles with the  variations I pick, the aria and var.1 will set it up nicely for what's to come :) 

      Like 3
    • Sindre Skarelven I am looking forward to hearing you !

      Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Thank you! I will practice this little by little along side some other projects. Looking forward to it :) 

      Like 3
  • hi Gail and everyone.  I've not been following piano forums the past week but just saw this and it's a great idea and I would love to participate.  I've played through all of the variations at various points (not well or at speed, but just learning the notes) and it's quite difficult for me to pick a "favorite" although the aria is one of the few pieces I can actually play from memory.

    I just read this in more detail and see now that we are each trying to come up with a variation (or a few?) to work on that doesn't overlap with others.  I will probably wait a bit to see what variations people "claim" and then pick something that is leftover that no one has picked yet.

    btw, I highly recommend listening to the podcast 30 bach (https://www.thirtybach.com/) for inspiration. There is a connection to tonebase in this podcast as well. 😉

    Like 4
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Brett, you must have ESP because the idea for this separate "side hustle" challenge came after I listened to Yankl's amazing podcast! 

       

      Maybe we can create a Google Doc so everyone can see which variations the other members are working on?  I'm traveling and in meetings the rest of the week, so I'll do it this evening.

      Like 2
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr That is funny, what an amazing podcast though.  I've been thinking about what a "highlights" version might look like and which variations could be picked to for an "abridged" performance that is shorter and more manageable.  At the same time I just came across a guitar tonebase lesson about the variations (someone transcribed all of the variations for classical guitar, but much of it is insanely difficult).  The variations they chose to cover in the abridged guitar lesson are 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 21, 18 (in that exact order).  Not a bad selection for piano either so I might start with that.

      Like 4
    • Brett Gilbert Thank you for this recommendation . It’s a lot to listen to but I did listen to the one that pertained to my chosen variation ( 22 ) and found  it very interesting .

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert Welcome Brett! Awesome that you have already gotten your fingers into this piece! Please join us :)

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert That’s interesting to hear! I had no idea about guitarists transcriptions of this piece!

       

      In regards to an abridged version of the Goldberg’s, I highly recommend looking at doing one! That would be very acceptable in historic practice. Only modern day pianists think we have to ALWAYS play all 30!

      I like Aria, 1 2 3 4 5 and 30 then aria! Done that a few times

      Like 6
    • Brett Gilbert By the way you can overlap with others! Just learn your favorite ones!!!

      Like 3
      • Brett Gilbert
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • brett_gilbert
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Thanks for info about abridged performances.  I was wondering whether that was done or acceptable.  I throughly enjoyed your recording at Colburn School from a few years ago.! I wish there was a closer/overhead view of your fingers but I could see how you did use light pedaling in places.  Would be curious to know how long it took you to learn/memorize the entire piece.

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert thank you for putting the podcast link up. I’m excited to listen to it! :) I’m impressed you play classical guitar as well as piano. Wow. 

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Thank you for the podcast-link! I will enjoy listening to that! 

      Like 2
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Thank you Brett for the podcast! It's perfect to understand and enjoy Goldberg's world!

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert Hey Brett! Yes I wish there were more cameras as well back then. But If you have specific questions for pedaling or fingering/hand positioning let me know!

       

      From opening the score to the first time I was able to perform it from memory, it took me 1 month. To get it to that level in the concert video it took 3-4 months, but I was also busy with so many other things as well!

      Like 1
    • Dominic Cheli I know it takes hard , hard work to memorize all the variations in one month but I still think it takes a genius to do that  ! 

      Like
  • I love this idea and would like to participate! I like Variations 1, 4, 5, 13, 26, 30. Happy to do any one from this set. 

    Like 3
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      TT2020 Can't wait to hear you, TT2020!  

      Like 2
    • TT2020 Amazing!!

      Like 2
    • TT2020 Sounds wonderful

      Like 2
  • Thank you Gail Starr  !  I would love to do this project with everyone. Full disclosure: I learned the Aria plus variations 1-15 a while back, but I will definitely benefit from returning and reviewing and learning new variations! The Goldberg Variations seem like such a spiritual piece to me. Just the first two measures of the Aria put me into an entirely different frame of mind. Like so many people have said, it’s really hard to choose a single variation, which also means that whatever variations end up being chosen, they will be awesome.

     

    I also have a hard time choosing a favorite recording, but I really want to share these two that I return to over and over:

     

    Jean Rondeau, who plays the harpsichord. I am in awe of the emotion he conveys. This particular video seems so intimate and so personal.

    Zhu Xiao Mei, who in the video below is playing in the church in which Bach is buried. (She is also the subject of two documentaries on Bach, which are wonderful. They are: “The Return is the Movement” (which is specifically about the Goldberg Variations) and “How Bach Defeated Mao.” Both are available on medici.tv, if any of y’all are subscribers over there.)

     

    Looking forward to this!

    Like 2
    • Matt Thank you for sharing these recordings! I am no familiar with them, so I will definitely check them out soon! Yes, please join us!

      Like 1
    • Matt I love the recording of Jean Rondeau too. He is my favorite. Luckily he has just started a concert tour with the Goldberg variations and I’m hoping to hear him live in April in Austria

      Like
  • Like Sindre, I would love to play Var. 1 ...along with 2, 3, and 4 - a nice little family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 grouping. I'm game for others, too, as long as they are remotely playable. My main reason for choosing the first four is that they are often played in a way that seems unimaginative 🙄 and lacking in humour 🤣. This morning, I played for a bit and began forming some ideas 💡 💡 💡...

    The composite (as much as we can cobble together as a group) will certainly sound like a dog's breakfast but that will be the unique charm of our creation 😂

    Like 3
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I love your ideas and creativity!

      I’m traveling right now, but this evening I will create a Google doc that we can all share and sign up for as many variations as we like. 😊

       

      I predict that you and Sindre will learn ALL of them AND compose your own 30 before Sunday! ❤️

      Like 3
    • Monika Tusnady Yes I think the composite will end up being quite rewarding actually! Awesome that you are already forming ideas, I love that! Keep going!!

      Like 3
  • After reading all your posts, I am convinced to do Dominic's plan of an abridged version of the Goldberg's; namely; Aria, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 30, Aria.

    It has a narrative logic: beginning, middle and end. It's not easy, of course, but it's not impossible either.  What do you think?

    Like 4
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite I love it! It's a great way to perform this piece!

      I think you can still play var.13 if you want to play that one too (I know it's already quite a lot to learn...), but then I would probably put it between 4 and 5. I kinda like the idea of getting that slow one in there :) 

      Like 3
    • Juan Carlos Olite I also think it’s a great plan. I may do the same. 

      Like 3
    • Juan Carlos Olite I’m quite sure I will enjoy listening to all the variations you choose to master!

      Like 2
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven Of course it's a great idea, Sindre! A lyrical moment, you're right! I'll try to do it. But, bufff... Seems like a lot of work...  But, very exciting too. 

      Like 1
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Thank you, Marianne. Do you have a personal plan for the Goldbergs?

      Like 3
    • Juan Carlos Olite I am studying the Aria plus variation no 21 and 22 , I opened my Goldberg sheet music at those particular pieces and decided that if Bach wrote them they would be good . They will stretch my abilities but I love crossword puzzles and detective stories so discovering the intricacies of these variations will be enjoyable for me . I don’t know how well I can play them but I plan to enjoy learning them ! 

      Like 2
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Of course, they are very good. I am sure you will solve Bach's beautiful riddles. I will enjoy listening them.

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton They ARE like puzzles!  Excellent point.

      Like 2
    • Juan Carlos Olite Its a great selection! I would maybe put 13 between 5 and 30. because 4 leads to strongly into 5. (Variations 1-5 have such a strong forward progression.) and then 13 is a small break before the finality of variation 30 and the aria. But experiment with the order! I know that it is alot of work, but just take your time!

      Like
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli Thank you Dominic for the advise. I am thinking to introduce other two variations between 13 and 30, namely 18 and 19. I know it is a big challenge and a lot of work, but..., step by step I will try to achieve it.

      Like
  • RE: ABRIDGED INDIVIDUAL VERSIONS

    A single variation is just a nibble - sometimes, that's all we have the stomach for.

    Other times we feel hungry for a smorgasbord and we play through our set of personal faves.

    To everyone who suggested or thought of the smorgasbord: THANK YOU! We could each weave together our (between one and ...?) favourites - in "hypothetical" order, even. That way we simply delight in everyone's version of a Goldberg collage (or nibble). All of a sudden, overlaps don't matter.

    Will someone please support me in my suggestion of NO REPEATS???? 

    Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady I support you with both the smorgasbord and no repeats !

      Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Yes, I agree! Everyone just choose their own...smorgasbord, I love it! It keeps everyone (me included) motivated with what they want to play.

      Yes, I feel that since the theme is pretty long, it will be easier for the listener to compare the variations when there is no repeats. You have my support :) 

      Like 4
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Ok, ok, Monika. Don't worry. No repeats. I promise 👌😊

      Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite That is a very good promise!

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Hi Monica I like both ideas! Personally I don't take repeats in my performances of this piece. It just becomes too long. I might take the repeat if something REALLY didn't go correctly the 1st time though, haha!

      Like
  • I’m in meetings all day today, so I’m afraid I haven’t been keeping up with our discussions.  But, I always agree with Monika’s excellent suggestions:  no repeats simply because we ALL want to hear each other and our listening time is limited.  

     

    A smorgasbord sounds delicious!

    Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr we miss you!!! Enjoy your trip, the meetings, the visits, and come home wanting nothing more than to spend time with your fabulous piano. 

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I’ll be back home at the piano on Saturday.  It is SO difficult to travel when we don’t have access to a piano (and have all-meetings!).

      Like 1
  • RE: PERSONAL SMORGASBORD AND STYLISTIC ORIGINALITY

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been avoiding recordings of the Goldberg lately except Dominic’s, of course, trying to clear my head of the ways they have already been played and looking for  something new. Easier said than done! It seems true, however, that the simpler the variation, the more options you have. 
    For my little smorgasbord, I’m aiming for phrasings and dynamic contrasts possible only on the modern piano and I can probably use some input along the way. 
    Dominic, can you set this up as a community challenge where we can post for feedback?

    Thanks everyone for your engagement in this endeavour. Look how it’s taking shape!

    Like 4
    • Monika Tusnady I loved listening to Jean Rondeau play the variations on the harpsichord . It gave me some ideas 😊

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady Being able to style Bach’s music with my own phrasing , articulation etc is what makes Bach’s music so appealing to me even though it requires so much work . I think perhaps it’s a good idea to avoid  recordings too but I can’t do it just yet.

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady Sorry for the delay in this! But I will set up a "long term, special circumstance" community challenge for us. So that we can post like we normally do. Because this thread has become the "General discussion" thread I would say! Look for a new place to post in the next few days! And I will move any videos posted to this new area for convenience!

      Like 2
  • RE: PERSONAL SMORGASBORD AND STYLISTIC ORIGINALITY

    After familiarizing myself with this lengthy piece a little more, I've decided on a set-up of pairs: 

    Aria and var. 1

    Var. 4 and 5

    Var 7 and 8

    Var 13 and 14

    Var 25 and 26

    Var 29 and 30

    Aria

    I will start practicing this in a couple of weeks, and take my time with it :) 

    Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven good on your for making such a commitment! You have some really cute variations in that set. This weekend, I've spent hours working out the fingerings on just a couple of variations. That's all: fingerings. We'll see if I get the sound I'm hoping for...though I'll admit the process was engaging beyond description. 

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I hope to create something that fits together, so I will be excited to see how this set turns out! 

      Getting the fingerings down is always the best way to start. Sometimes I play around with it a little to get a feel of it before deciding on the fingerings, but usually time is best well spend to get it done right away :) 

      Like 1
    • Sindre Skarelven I’ll just say Wow ! I’m looking forward to hearing you !

      Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Sindre Skarelven Yes, we all are. I especially look forward to hearing the evolution of bits and pieces as we learn and think through the piece one variation, one little nibble at the time. It will be like spilling all the pieces of a puzzle on the table before assembling it. 

      Like 3
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven What a superb plan, Sindre! I look forward to hearing it. 

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Thank you, Marianne! I look forward to hear you and everyone else's version! Let's be patient with this one :) 

      Monika Tusnady You always know how to paint a picture, Monika! Looking forward to the process :) 

      Juan Carlos Olite I like this plan a lot too, Juan Carlos! Excited to see how it turns out! Maybe it will be a classic ;)  

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven I love this idea!

      Like 1
    • Sindre Skarelven Sounds great! Absolutely wonderful variations, you picked some of the most challenging! Let me know if you need some advice on fingerings/hand positions!

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven I love your pairings!

      Like
  • Inspiration for the day !

    "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."  Johann Sebastian Bach 
     

    Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Wow! Why is it that my experience is so different? I don’t remember anything at all being easy on the piano, ever! Oh, yes, of course: I am just Monika, not Bach!

      Like 3
    • Monika Tusnady 😂😂😂😂😂

      Nothing has every been easy for me either . In fact it’s been blood , sweat and tears and still not the results I would like !

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton Great quote! It’s like someone is asking Bach «what’s the magic and secret ingrediens behind it all» and he drops a truth-bomb like: «just play the right keys at the right time» Yup, that’s it 😅 

      Like 3
    • Sindre Skarelven Exactly!

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton Wow such a simple and direct way of looking at things! Of course Bach was a genius so simply hitting the keys meant that he was also doing so with absolute purpose and emotional intent.

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Like anything its best to try and simplify complex problems to tackle them. Perhaps this is what Bach is doing! 

      Like
    • mariannejhampton Even for Bach, he worked SO hard, and it wasn't easy for him either! He never said playing the right notes at the right time was easy!! :)

      Like 1
    • mariannejhampton While doing so successfully might not be "remarkable" its still definitely hard :)

      Like 1
    • Dominic Cheli  I have a feeling that Bach was quite the joker when he made this statement ! Surely a man would need to have a sense of humor to  have 2 wives and 20 children ! 

      Like 2
    • mariannejhampton Oh it is so true that he was a joker! For example, Goldberg Variation 30 is a "quodlibet" based on multiple German folk songs. Take a look at the titles/lyrics of these songs that Bach would have sung:

       

      ("I have so long been away from you, come closer, come closer") 

       

      ("Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, had my mother cooked meat, I'd have opted to stay"). 

       

      Quite humorous and funny!

      Like 1
    • Dominic Cheli I’ll check out those folk songs . I think he also enjoyed a good brew, got in trouble for cavorting with a young unmarried woman in a hayloft and spent a month in prison for participating in a street fight !! Just a normal genius !

      Like
  • WHY WE PLAY THE PIANO

    “When the self loses itself in a transcendent purpose — whether to write great poetry, craft beautiful furniture, understand the motions of galaxies, or help children be happier — the self becomes largely invulnerable to the fears and setbacks of ordinary existence.”

     - Csíkszentmihályi RIP

    To which degree does working on the Goldberg Variations meet this definition of FLOW for you? 

    Like 4
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      It does work perfectly well. Great psychologist Milhalyi Csikszentmihalyi and wonderful book "Flow". Thank for reminding us, Monika.  I am trying everyday to show my students the necessity to look for these human activities that can lead them to the state of Flow.

      Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite good for you! My first week was difficult to the extreme, with ideas that seemed interesting but impossible to bring to life. No flow! It’s picking up now, but to keep things joyful, I will limit myself to only a few variations. 

      Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady I remember learning and reading some of this research in my student days. One thing I always remember, and that I think about as a piano teacher, is the importance of studying material with the right degree of difficulty. In fact, I think it was only 4% above our current level that we should take on. Meaning, if things are too difficult, it's easy to loose motivation. The only exception is if we have a strong inner drive to learn a certain piece. 

      I have only looked at the piece a little bit so far, but I hope to get a sense of flow when learning it. I can report back on that later when I've gotten into it! :D 

      Like 3
    • Sindre Skarelven I am not a teacher but I do agree with setting small achievable goals especially for myself .  

      Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven It would not be overstating the facts to say that this group has a particularly strong inner drive! 

      Like 4
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton That is a very clever thing to do! 

      Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Absolutely! I feel very driven and motivated by just being in this group! :)  

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady I remember first working on the Goldberg Variations and struggling with flow! It is such a massive piece that it was hard to see the "end of the tunnel" or in other words "When/how will I be able to perform this piece???"

       

      This takes me to mariannejhampton  points. 

       

      SMALL achievable goals with consistent, patient steps forward is CRITICAL to approaching this Mt. Everest of the repertoire. That is why I am so supportive of studying specific variations and creating small concert suites of different selections, because it can be quite successful! 

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Dominic Cheli  Thank you for those words. The Goldberg Variations have been the Mount Everest of my life and I’ll admit to quite the feeling of inadequacy for never having had the time to learn them. (That’s an awfully long time!) Now I feel that I no longer need to. 
      I don’t really know where to post this so I’ll just continue here: A THOUSAND THANK YOUS for the LIVESTREAM conversation around pianist health! There were so many takeaways from that session: Cold and heat; overuse resulting from what I had never thought of as the unnatural act of playing the piano; the allowances we need to make as we age 😢.  After watching, I committed to following your advice to rest for 10 minutes after every 20 minutes of practice -  one more way to put an Apple Watch to good use! Thank you!

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady Awesome! SO happy that my livestream with Dr. Kleinman was of use to you! I think he is brilliant and there is a lot to learn and apply to our practicing/musical/overall lives!

      Like 1
      • Hilda HuangTeam
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady What a great question, Monika.... I'm always thinking about this question. Actually the first time I performed it was when I was 13, and I had only finished memorizing it the night before. So I just closed my eyes and went head first for it.... and I had to purely rely on flow to get me through it all. What a magical feeling when the music carries you along....

      Like 1
  • I can honestly say that I never found Bach boring and have loved to listen to (and poorly play) his compositions ever since my first inventions when I was about 10 yrs old . Whether the music is fast , slow , gloomy , passionate etc it definitely takes me to a better place and for a while I can focus and leave everything else behind . 
    ‘I love the variations and although I didn’t care for looking up all those trills , mordants , inverted mordants etc I am enjoying the process of solving the puzzles !  Of course I’m sure all those puzzles have been solved over and over in the past 400 years but they’re new and creative to me.

    Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton You have been silent for some time on Community. Just checking in with you to see how Bach is coming along, or whether you will join in the Brahms Waltzes!

      Like 2
    • Monika Tusnady I’ve been very lazy this past two weeks and took a break although I have been checking both challenge pages to see what everyone is up to ! However after reading your message I have been prompted to start practicing again ! I also saw your pic ( you’re holding a glass of wine ) so I’ve opened some white wine to ease me into practicing 😊😊😊😊

      Like 4
    • mariannejhampton Bach takes us to the highest of heights in music! His music can be appreciated from every corner, angle and phrase. It is like seeing an architectural marvel, perfect from the foundation, to the tallest tower!

       

      It is great that you are challenging yourself, puzzles are so good for our brains!

      Like
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mariannejhampton I think I'll take your suggestion and add some wine to my practicing.

      Like
  • Goldberg Variations are never in my repertoire. I do like it, but it's LONG. I never really started digging into it. Looks like it's a good chance to have a deep look inside the piece.

    Like 1
  • Think I'll jump in and join the fun.  Just received my Schirmer's Library manuscript of this piece which has all the ornamentals written out as I have a hard time figuring all the squiggly lines in the Urtext version.

    Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake Those squiggles drive me crazy!  I actually kind of gave up, and I'm just going to "make up" my own, LOL...

      Like
  • Hi Friends!!! Gail Starr Thanks Gail for suggesting this discussion - just wanted to bump this thread because it's bach month this month and I'd love to hear you play some of the Goldberge this March.

     

    PSA - I'm going to be throwing an interactive masterclass later this month, and one of the categories of pieces will be a variation or two from the Goldberg variations. When the invitation to play comes out, please feel free to propose your variations and I'll look through the proposals. The final list of performers will be chosen based on a repertoire combination that will allow me to convey some important points in Bach-performance.

     

    I'm hoping to work on No. 25, that wonderful aria - Actually I play the Beethoven Diabelli variations too, and the great aria in the Diabellis has so many resonances with Goldbergs 25.

    Looking forward to hearing you all!!

     

    Hilda

    Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang I can't wait to compare the Goldberg #25 and the Diabelli variation!

       

      I'm so sorry that I'm not free during the day on March 31.  Maybe you can record the masterclass?

       

      I've just read through the Goldbergs (I'm late again starting the challenge!) and I'll pick a few to start this evening.

       

      My main musical activity is playing chamber music, and I have rehearsals next week.  So, I've been spending my time on the Dvorak Op. 81, the Trout and the Archduke.  My group is hoping to do a concert at a lovely museum later this Spring, depending on the museum's schedule.

      Like
  • Hi everyone, I’d love to continue with no 25 too - I think this is my favorite piece of music! But would also like to play a few others: no 7, 13, 15, 21, 22, 25

    Like
Like Follow
  • 1 mth agoLast active
  • 152Replies
  • 338Views
  • 17 Following