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13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg

13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg for Piano. First Performance: May 2, 2004 (Kalamazoo, MI). Modern. SMP Level 8 (Early Advanced). Collection. Duration circa 50 minutes. Published by Edition Peters (PE.P68122).

ISBN M-3007-5467-3. Modern.

Contents: Bach: Aria, from The Goldberg Variations BWV 988; C. Curtis-Smith: Rube Goldberg Variation; Jennifer Higdon: The Gilmore Variation; Mischa Sarche Zupko: Ghost Variation; Stanley Walden: Fantasy Variation; Bright Sheng: Variation Fugato; Derek Bermel: Kontraphunktus; Bach: Variation 13, from Goldberg Variations BWV 988; David Del Tredici: My Goldberg (Gymnopedie No. 1); Fred Lerdahl: Chasing Goldberg; William Bolcom: Yet Another Goldberg Variation (for left hand alone) (Canon Inversa); Lukas Foss: Goldmore Variation; Ralf Gothoni: Variation on Variation with Variation; Fred Hersch: Melancholy Minuet; Bach: Aria (reprise), from Goldberg Variations BWV 988

These 12 diverse new variations on the orignal Bach aria were commissioned by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival for pianist Gilbert Kalish, who gave the first performance at the Festival on May 2, 2004 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 'An interesting look at how different composers approach the same theme.' --Clavier, September 2007.

About SMP Level 8 (Early Advanced)

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4 and 5-note chords spanning more than an octave. Intricate rhythms and melodies.

  • Aria, from The Goldberg Variations BWV 988  Performed by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Rube Goldberg Variation  Performed by C. Curtis-Smith
  • The Gilmore Variation  Performed by Jennifer Higdon
  • Ghost Variation  Performed by Mischa Sarche Zupko
  • Fantasy Variation  Performed by Stanley Walden
  • Variation Fugato  Performed by Bright Sheng
  • Variation 13, from Goldberg Variations BWV 988  Performed by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • My Goldberg (Gymnopedie No. 1)  Performed by David Del Tredici
  • Chasing Goldberg  Performed by Fred Lerdahl
  • Yet Another Goldberg Variation (for left hand alone) (Canon Inversa)  Performed by William Bolcom
  • Goldmore Variation  Performed by Lukas Foss
  • Variation on Variation with Variation  Performed by Ralf Gothoni
  • Melancholy Minuet  Performed by Fred Hersch
  • Aria (reprise), from Goldberg Variations BWV 988  Performed by Johann Sebastian Bach
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13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg

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  • Ratings + Reviews

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    Based on 1 Review
  • 3

    Williamstown, MA
    Difficulty Level:
  • January 11, 2012 Uneven, but interesting

    This collection assembles 13 contemporary composers’ variations on the Aria from the Goldberg Variations. It has gotten a fair amount of publicity on the internet, including Lara Downes’s fundraising drive. Yet there is very little criticism; the sequenza21 review is mainly positive. But this is a very uneven collection...

    . The best pieces include Mischa Zupko’s expressive and dissonant “Ghost Variation�; Derek Bermel’s ferocious piece, which can’t seem to decide how to engage Bach (an entirely appropriate response); the weird conglomeration of Bach and Satie in David Del Tredici’s neo-romantic variation; Fred Lerdahl’s precise but monotonous staccato variation; and especially Lukas Foss’s “Goldmore Variation,� which is a strong and nuanced response to the Aria. Most of these pieces are intermediate in difficulty; a couple, like Lerdahl’s, require a lot of practice.

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