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

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    • Sindre Skarelven
    • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
    • Sindre_Skarelven
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    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
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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 :)

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    • Gail Starr I bet he will! 😆

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    • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

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

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

    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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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  ! 

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    • Tammy
    • TT2022
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    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
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      TT2020 Can't wait to hear you, TT2020!  

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