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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    • 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
    • TT2020 Amazing!!

      Like 2
    • TT2020 Sounds wonderful

      Like 2
    • Matt
    • Matt
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    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

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    • Monika Tusnady
    • The Retired French Teacher
    • Monikainfrance
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

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

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

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      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 8 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
    • Monika Tusnady
    • The Retired French Teacher
    • Monikainfrance
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

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

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

      Like 3
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 9 mths ago
      • 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!

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