Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Cambridge Music Handbooks) by Peter Williams

By Peter Williams

Bach's awesome Goldberg adaptations symbolize a excessive aspect within the repertory of keyboard song, rather for the harpsichord. This publication takes an in depth examine how those diversifications originated, specially relating to all Bach's ClavierÜbung volumes and past due keyboard works, what their enormously difficult plan is, what sort of influence they've got had, and the way their mysterious attractiveness has been created. This consultant to what used to be on the time the biggest and such a lot rigorously conceived unmarried paintings of keyboard song will attract scholars, performers and listeners.

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By Peter Williams

Bach's awesome Goldberg adaptations symbolize a excessive aspect within the repertory of keyboard song, rather for the harpsichord. This publication takes an in depth examine how those diversifications originated, specially relating to all Bach's ClavierÜbung volumes and past due keyboard works, what their enormously difficult plan is, what sort of influence they've got had, and the way their mysterious attractiveness has been created. This consultant to what used to be on the time the biggest and such a lot rigorously conceived unmarried paintings of keyboard song will attract scholars, performers and listeners.

Show description

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Extra info for Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Cambridge Music Handbooks) 2001

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At least four major agendas are being played out here. First, the overall plan is much like that of an idealized organ-recital, with a massive 25 Bach: The Goldberg Variations ritornello prelude and final fugue in three sections, framing a series of liturgical chorales. This is a recital-plan such as one eye-witness of the period describes Bach as following in Leipzig, though the publication itself could have established such plans. e. as pieces usable in actual services by a proficient (‘practised’) organist.

Three especially important details are immediately clear from the bassline as it is extracted and illustrated in Example 2, a line from time to 35 Bach: The Goldberg Variations time slightly displaced (chiefly in some of the canons) or replaced by another note in its harmony (as already in No. 1, second half). The three details are: The ‘theme’ is curiously melodious, producing a line logical and singable; these characteristics bear on the sustained melos, the implicit melody, of the work as a whole.

Knowingly or not, the listener is affected by the bass-theme to hear the variations as variations. The one movement to have upbeats – the last, No. 30 – does so because the tunes opening each half are not the composer’s. In the Musical Offering, the ‘Fourteen Canons’, the Canonic Variations and the Art of Fugue, the canons are grouped together: not merely on paper but also (at least, for the second and third of these) as a performable group. This appears not to be so in the Goldberg, where the numbering is unambiguous, and one is given no encouragement to pick out the canons and make a separate sequence of them.

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