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Gray Saint Cecilia Series : Intermediate :. In the first section, the left hand accompanies with a bass line written out in repeated quarter notes, in bars 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. This repeated note motif also appears in the first bar of the second section bar 17, two Ds and a C , and, slightly altered, in bars 22 and In the second section, Bach changes the mood slightly by introducing a few appoggiaturas bars 19 and 20 and trills bars 29— This variation is a slow, gentle and richly decorated sarabande in 3 4 time.
Most of the melody is written out using thirty-second notes, and ornamented with a few appoggiaturas more frequent in the second section and a few mordents. Throughout the piece, the melody is in one voice, and in bars 16 and 24 an interesting effect is produced by the use of an additional voice.
Here are bars 15 and 16, the ending of the first section bar 24 exhibits a similar pattern :.
This is a rapid two-part hand-crossing toccata in 3 4 time, with many trills and other ornamentation. It is specified for two manuals and features large jumps between registers. Both features ornaments and leaps in the melody are apparent from the first bar: the piece begins with a transition from the G two octaves below middle C, with a lower mordent, to the G two octaves above it with a trill with initial turn. Bach uses a loose inversion motif between the first half and the second half of this variation, "recycling" rhythmic and melodic material, passing material that was in the right hand to the left hand, and loosely selectively inverting it.
Contrasting it with Variation 15, Glenn Gould described this variation as "certainly one of the giddiest bits of neo-Scarlatti-ism imaginable. This is a canon at the fifth in 2 4 time. Like Variation 12, it is in contrary motion with the leader appearing inverted in the second bar. This is the first of the three variations in G minor, and its melancholic mood contrasts sharply with the playfulness of the previous variation. Pianist Angela Hewitt notes that there is "a wonderful effect at the very end [of this variation]: the hands move away from each other, with the right suspended in mid-air on an open fifth.
This gradual fade, leaving us in awe but ready for more, is a fitting end to the first half of the piece. Glenn Gould said of this variation, "It's the most severe and rigorous and beautiful canon It's a piece so moving, so anguished—and so uplifting at the same time—that it would not be in any way out of place in the St. Matthew's Passion; matter of fact, I've always thought of Variation 15 as the perfect Good Friday spell.
The set of variations can be seen as being divided into two-halves, clearly marked by this grand French overture, commencing with a particularly emphatic opening and closing chords. It consists of a slow prelude with dotted rhythms with a following fugue-like contrapuntal section. This variation is another two-part virtuosic toccata. Specified for two manuals, the piece features hand-crossing. It is in 3 4 time and usually played at a moderately fast tempo. Rosalyn Tureck is one of the very few performers who recorded slow interpretations of the piece.
In making his re-recording of the Goldberg Variations , Glenn Gould considered playing this variation at a slower tempo, in keeping with the tempo of the preceding variation Variation 16 , but ultimately decided not to because "Variation 17 is one of those rather skittish, slightly empty-headed collections of scales and arpeggios which Bach indulged when he wasn't writing sober and proper things like fugues and canons, and it just seemed to me that there wasn't enough substance to it to warrant such a methodical, deliberate, Germanic tempo.
This is a canon at the sixth in 2 2 time. The canonic interplay in the upper voices features many suspensions. Commenting on the structure of the canons of the Goldberg Variations , Glenn Gould cited this variation as the extreme example of "deliberate duality of motivic emphasis This is a dance-like three-part variation in 3 8 time. The same sixteenth note figuration is continuously employed and variously exchanged between each of the three voices. This variation incorporates the rhythmic model of variation 13 complementary exchange of quarter and sixteenth notes with variations 1 and 2 syncopations.
This variation is a virtuosic two-part toccata in 3 4 time.
Bach: Six Organ Preludes and Fugues (Arr. Franz Liszt): Johann Sebastian Bach | Organ Sheet Music
Specified for two manuals, it involves rapid hand-crossing. The piece consists mostly of variations on the texture introduced during its first eight bars, where one hand plays a string of eighth notes and the other accompanies by plucking sixteenth notes after each eighth note. To demonstrate this, here are the first two bars of the first section:.
The second of the three minor key variations, variation 21 has a tone that is somber or even tragic, which contrasts starkly with variation A similar pattern, only a bit more lively, occurs in the bass line in the beginning of the second section, which begins with the opening motif inverted. This variation features four-part writing with many imitative passages and its development in all voices but the bass is much like that of a fugue. The only specified ornament is a trill which is performed on a whole note and which lasts for two bars 11 and The ground bass on which the entire set of variations is built is heard perhaps most explicitly in this variation as well as in the Quodlibet due to the simplicity of the bass voice.
Another lively two-part virtuosic variation for two manuals, in 3 4 time. It begins with the hands chasing one another, as it were: the melodic line, initiated in the left hand with a sharp striking of the G above middle C, and then sliding down from the B one octave above to the F, is offset by the right hand, imitating the left at the same pitch, but a quaver late, for the first three bars, ending with a small flourish in the fourth:. This pattern is repeated during bars 5—8, only with the left hand imitating the right one, and the scales are ascending, not descending.
We then alternate between hands in short bursts written out in short note values until the last three bars of the first section. The second section starts with this similar alternation in short bursts again, then leads to a dramatic section of alternating thirds between hands. Williams, marvelling at the emotional range of the work, asks: "Can this really be a variation of the same theme that lies behind the adagio no 25?
This variation is a canon at the octave, in 9 8 time. The leader is answered both an octave below and an octave above; it is the only canon of the variations in which the leader alternates between voices in the middle of a section.
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Variation 25 is the third and last variation in G minor; a three-part piece, it is marked adagio in Bach's own copy  and is in 3 4 time. The melody is written out predominantly in sixteenth and thirty-second notes, with many chromaticisms. This variation generally lasts longer than any other piece of the set. Wanda Landowska famously described this variation as "the black pearl" of the Goldberg Variations.
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Williams writes that "the beauty and dark passion of this variation make it unquestionably the emotional high point of the work", and Glenn Gould said that "the appearance of this wistful, weary cantilena is a master-stroke of psychology. In sharp contrast with the introspective and passionate nature of the previous variation, this piece is another virtuosic two-part toccata, joyous and fast-paced.
Underneath the rapid arabesques, this variation is basically a sarabande. Variation 27 is the last canon of the piece, at the ninth and in 6 8 time. This is the only canon where two manuals are specified not due to hand-crossing difficulties, and the only pure canon of the work, because it does not have a bass line. This variation is a two-part toccata in 3 4 time that employs a great deal of hand crossing.
Trills are written out using thirty-second notes and are present in most of the bars. The piece begins with a pattern in which each hand successively picks out a melodic line while also playing trills. Following this is a section with both hands playing in contrary motion in a melodic contour marked by sixteenth notes bars 9— The end of the first section features trills again, in both hands now and mirroring one another:. The second section starts and closes with the contrary motion idea seen in bars 9— Most of the closing bars feature trills in one or both hands.
This variation consists mostly of heavy chords alternating with sections of brilliant arpeggios shared between the hands. A rather grand variation, it adds an air of resolution after the lofty brilliance of the previous variation. Glenn Gould states that variations 28 and 29 present the only case of "motivic collaboration or extension between successive variations. The others have been forgotten. Bach's biographer Forkel explains the Quodlibet by invoking a custom observed at Bach family reunions Bach's relatives were almost all musicians :.
As soon as they were assembled a chorale was first struck up. From this devout beginning they proceeded to jokes which were frequently in strong contrast. That is, they then sang popular songs partly of comic and also partly of indecent content, all mixed together on the spur of the moment. This kind of improvised harmonizing they called a Quodlibet, and not only could laugh over it quite whole-heartedly themselves, but also aroused just as hearty and irresistible laughter in all who heard them. Forkel's anecdote which is likely to be true, given that he was able to interview Bach's sons , suggests fairly clearly that Bach meant the Quodlibet to be a joke.
A note-for-note repeat of the aria at the beginning. Williams writes that the work's "elusive beauty Its melody is made to stand out by what has gone on in the last five variations, and it is likely to appear wistful or nostalgic or subdued or resigned or sad, heard on its repeat as something coming to an end, the same notes but now final.
When Bach's personal copy of the printed edition of the "Goldberg Variations" see above was discovered in , it was found to include an appendix in the form of fourteen canons built on the first eight bass notes from the aria. The Goldberg Variations have been reworked freely by many performers, changing either the instrumentation, the notes, or both. The Italian composer Busoni prepared a greatly altered transcription for piano.
According to the art critic Michael Kimmelman , "Busoni shuffled the variations, skipping some, then added his own rather voluptuous coda to create a three-movement structure; each movement has a distinct, arcing shape, and the whole becomes a more tightly organized drama than the original. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Keyboard work by Johann Sebastian Bach. For other uses, see Goldberg Variations disambiguation.
Aria to Variation 9. Variations 10 to Variations 23 to Aria Da Capo. Bass Line. Performed by Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka on piano. This file is available in "flac" format here. Variatio 1. Variatio 2. Variatio 3. Canone all'Unisuono. Variatio 4. Variatio 5. Variatio 6. Canone alla Seconda.
Variatio 7. Variatio 8. Variatio 9. Canone alla Terza. Variatio 10 a 1 Clav. Variatio 11 a 2 Clava. Variatio Canone alla Quarta. Variatio 13 a 2 Clav. Variatio 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Variatio 16 a 1 Clav.
Variatio 17 a 2 Clav. Variatio 18 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Sexta. Variatio 20 a 2 Clav. Variatio 21 Canone alla Settima. Variatio 22 a 1 Clav. Variatio 23 a 2 Clav. Variatio 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all Ottava. Variatio 26 a 2 Clav. Variatio 27 a 2 Clav. Variatio 28 a 2 Clav. Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Aria da Capo.
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