The enlightened listening blog

On performing the Goldberg Variations again

Recently I performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations in public again for the first time in seventeen years. I could not believe it had been that long. Yet there was the inescapable evidence. My last go was for the Philadelphia Bach Society in 1994. I had performed the work probably thirty times during the previous decade and a half, and then this was followed by a break of more than that. I felt I needed to approach the preparation of the work as if it were new. I looked everywhere for better ways of doing things. I sought out places which had always given me trouble, or had never felt entirely comfortable,changing hand positions and fingerings. I investigated new ornamentations and articulations, new relationships between variations, especially contiguous ones. And most of all I looked for ways to bring out the individual character of each variation as vividly as possible, bringing them to life in my imagination and with luck the imaginations of my listeners. Continue reading

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