Music of Gravity
Music of Sacred Temperament
The Well-Tempered Clavier
Music of Sweet Temperament
The Well-Tempered Clavier 2
Music of Desire
R.Schumann's Kreisleriana
MUSIC in the Air
Schoenberg's Piano Works
Without Dark Matter (out of music)
The Modified Einstein Field Equation (MEFE)

You can access various kinds of data concerning Bach's Goldberg Variations.
And also, you can enjoy this particular music through MIDI and mp3.

Go To The Goldberg Variations Front Page
S O U N D - C O L L A G E

25 Apr 1997: Jul 1999: Aug 2000: Jan 2001: Jan 2012
made by Iori FUJITA
E-mail address:

You can listen to all the Goldberg Variations here by Pianoteq Stage.

All human beings are floating in the empty sky
Without any earth on which they place their feet
First of all, to give them the earth
Should have been to save not only Him but All Mankind

Flowery Story of SAIGYO ( by Kunio TUJI )*** temporary translation
to the Goldberg Variations
Listen to the music of the Goldberg Variations
to know about the Goldberg Variations
to study the history
Who played the Goldberg Variations?
Virtual Conversation between Bach and Gould

Music of Desire
- Music of Sacred Temperament
The Well-Tempered Clavier
- MUSIC in the Air
Schoenberg's Piano Works
- Music of Sweet Temperament
the Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2

the Goldberg Variations

January 18, 1997; August 14, 1999; August 10, 2000; January 28, 2001
Last revision;November 25, 2012
Iori FUJITA, Japan

E-mail address:


At first, it should be asked if music can be the object of "intellect" or not. But, talking about all kinds of music, for example classic, popular, jazz, karaoke, there will not be any answer. Here, the object of "music of intellect" is a particular piece of music, that is to say Bach's "the Goldberg Variations", and I am not going to browse any other works.
Why do the Goldberg Variations have a reality as "music of intellect", and are they to be the object of the intellectual manipulation. I am going to think about it, with you. By the way, I do not follow the pass on which many critics are doing their analysis or commentary.
To tell the truth, it is impossible for me to do that, because I am not a specialist in the field of music. Instead, I would like to make it possible for us to do some philosophical thinking about music by using SMF (standard MIDI file) data format.
The reason why I am going to think about the Goldberg Variations as " Music of Intellect" was inspired by the performance of Glenn Gould. Gould's debut record was, as you know, his first Goldberg Variations in 1955. It was really like a challenge toward the intellectual field of music. And actually I didn't like it. Because I could not see through the meaning of his work.
After a while, I forgot the Goldberg Variations by Gould completely. But his Well-Tempered Clavier vol.2 No.14 impressed me deeply, and his Mozart Piano Sonatas playing invited me to a new world of musical pleasure. So, I became one of Gould enthusiasts.
In 1981, Gould made the second recording for the Goldberg Variations, and next year he suddenly passed away. He was 50 years old. As many other fans in the world I was shocked by his unexpected death. This peculiar coincidence between his death and his second Goldberg in 1981 put a spell on me.
Recording in 1955 and another in 1981 were not the same. In 1955, he used an analog monophonic system. In 1981, the digital stereo recording system and CD distribution could be possible. Performance in 1981 was like " Intellect has been unified with the Spirit of the Universe". On the other hand, performance in 1955 was different and like a pointed challenge of Intellect.
The first CD that I bought was Gould's Goldberg Variations, and I gave it to my friend. I bought several CDs of Gould's Goldberg Variations. So many times I listened to this Goldberg. 100 times, 200 times. But listening only or listening and reading score cannot lead me to the realm of "Music of INTELLECT" without any help. Then a new device came into my home. That is computer, MIDI or digital piano. These tools encouraged me to start my exploration. So, let's begin the quest together for "Music of INTELLECT".


Part 1
  1. Music for Sleep

  2. Music of Intellect
      (1) from sleep to intellect
      (2) Glenn Gould for the object of the intellect
      (3) method of intellect
      (4) Where is the existence as music?
      (5) free from pianists
      (6) free from instruments
      (7) What is SMF?
      (8) reference ( my system )

  3. The Analysis of Music
    1. The Analysis of Score
      1. The score
      2. Instruments and tuning
      3. The expression on the score ( listen through MIDI )
      4. key
      5. Range of notes
      6. Composition
        repeat/number of bars/beats/CANON

    2. The Analysis of Performances
      1. Who played ?
      2. When did they do recording ?
      3. Piano or Cembalo ?
      4. Gould's tempo in 1955
      5. treatment of repeat or frain
      6. Tempo Allocation

  4. The Way to the 'Music of Intellect'
    1. combination of refrain
    2. setting of tempo
    3. setting of dynamics
    4. variations of ornaments
    5. length of notes
    6. pedaling
    7. pose between variations
    8. transpose
    9. tuning
    10. analysis of canons
    11. listen to it many times

  5. Again, the Goldberg Variations for Sleep
    1. good night sleep
    2. Johann Nikolaus Forkel's biography of Bach
    3. Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg
    4. Reichsgraf von Hermann Carl Keyserlink
    5. Insomnia
    6. G-Major
    7. variations
    8. Have a fruitful sleep !
Part 2
Bach's expectations and Gould's recollections
list of CD
list of reference
data of Gould's stage performance of the Goldberg Variations

to Part 1


1 - Music for Sleep@

What was the purpose for J.S.Bach to compose this set of variations, the Goldberg Variations? That was "For sleep". In this document where "Music of Intellect" is the main title, it might be strange to say abruptly "It is for sleep". But, the history of its composition indicates it. Notes of each CD tell us so. Although many of enthusiasts of the Goldberg may know about this, I would like to show the said-facts briefly as follows..........

"J.S.Bach sent one of his eligible students, J.G.Goldberg, to Count Keiserlingk as a resident clavirist. Then Count Keiserlingk had asked Bach to compose a musical work which 'could make up his sleepless night hours by mind healing, and should be calm and somehow cheerful'. Bach made this set of variations to cure Count's insomnia and send it to him.

Count Keiserlingk highly appreciated it, and rewarded Bach with a considerable amount of money. Under these circumstances this set of variations was named after Bach's student Goldberg who should be the first performer in history."

There are a lot of versions of performing the Goldberg Variations, and each comment tells this story with a little bit difference. For your reference, the original facsimile of the cover page of the Goldberg Variations contains the message

in einer Aria mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen
vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen.
Denen Liebhabern zur Gemuths - Ergetzung verfertiget

Glenn Gould pointed out, on the occasion of his first recording, that it was very much doubtful if 'Maestro' Goldberg had been playing this bitter taste work truly and precisely with any success of making effect as a lullaby, and said that the theory "Music for Sleep" was not more than an episode. It is understandable as Gould's comment about this work, because he himself had chosen this work for his debut recording in 1955, as the ultimate object for his intellectual challenge, and resultantly millions of people supported his outcome.

Ralf Kirkpatrick indicated, in the scorebook edited by himself in 1934, "The musical feeling for the true expression of Bach's phrases is usually, or should be, developed by intellect mainly." So he may have said, "This is the Music of Intellect."

Now, contemporary listeners are listening to this work in order not to cure insomnia but to explore ultimate world of musical sense in the ship of the Music of Intellect. So the cracks laid between "intellect" and "sleep" cannot be fixed up. Anyway they are entertaining this intellectual challenge in the field of music.

A musical work based on the necessity for sleep is now the one for the intellectual challenge. A musical work for a Count is now shared by many people all over the world. Many performers have played this work by now. But Glenn Gould has contributed greatly to promote more people to love the Goldberg Variations.

The relation between "Music of Intellect" and "Music for Sleep" is profoundly interesting. Both Intellect and Sleep are related directly with human soul, heart and will. So I would like to study and investigate it from various aspects. Through this process I want to find out fun of Intellect, and at the same time verify the comfort of Sleep.

At first, let's begin with Intellect. And later come back and think about the meaning of "Music of Intellect".

To be continued...

Part 1

2 - Music of Intellect@

(1) From "Sleep" to "Intellect"@
Although the conversion from "Music for Sleep" to "Music of Intellect" has been brought by Glenn Gould, there is no doubt that 'the Goldberg Variations' itself has and had the characteristics of "Music of Intellect" in its inner body. In Bach's time, it was natural that some works were composed on the request-bases, or that some were dedicated to someone for getting some reward. So, even in case that J.S.Bach received an order, he composed this work with his own creativity and concentration. This must not be a simple lullaby or a sleeping pill at all.

The ovation by Ralph Kirkpatrick to this work is for the highest level. He said, "Through lyricism, tragic passion and overwhelming delights, Aria and its variations eliminate the personal ugliness, and give shape the perfectly purified divinity."

Glenn Gould expressed the Goldberg Variations as one of the most immortal keyboard works or as a tremendous musical structure ever made in history.

But how great is this work does not make it "music of intellect". The Goldberg Variations are somehow different from other works. This work has a distinguished character on which "intellect" can be activated. And the structure of the work can be not only interpreted as an intellectual object but also reconstructed into music.

Robert Schumann, great musician of the Roman school, utilized his intellectual potentiality as far as possible for composition, but to perform his work like Kreisleriana needs pianist's virtuosity expressing emotional waves. The Goldberg Variations inspire deep heartfelt impression, but this impression should be intellectual one. And it brings us a great delight aroused from "Music of Intellect".

(2) Glenn Gould as an object of "Intellect"@
To think about "Music of Intellect" through the Goldberg Variations, it is necessary for us to know at first about Glenn Gould.
Gould was born on September 25, 1932 in Toronto, Canada. Recording debut was in 1955 by his remarkable 'the Goldberg Variations'. At that time he was also a performing pianist on concert stages. But it is widely known that he had left stages since 1964, and he had been concentrating on recording alone. 'No performance on stages' itself became to a worldwide topic, and at the same time, fans were disappointed without his live performance. Instead, Gould sometimes did radio or TV programs. In 1981 he rerecorded the Goldberg Variations for his second official recording. Next year abruptly he passed away in his age 50.
Gould gave many people great influences through his performance especially through his disks and CDs. The approach toward "Intellect" through the Goldberg Variations should be Gould's peculiarity.
But on the other side, he became much more famous by his eccentric conducts. Let me show some of them.

*However he was a pianist, he abandoned concert stage performances.

Since the year 1964, he had left concert stages. At that time, recording technology developed, which made him possible to continue musical activities like recording in studios. Even the Beatles stopped concerts in 1970's, Gould was running forward in that sense. One of the prominent music critics has a theory "I can not say good or not without hearing one's performance on concert stage." This kind of prerequisite is like "I can not enjoy a movie without seeing the same story stage performance."

*Playing the piano in an unusual sitting posture.

He plays the piano in low profile on a chair with shorter chair legs. When one hand can be free from the keyboard, he swings it like a conductor in front of his orchestra. Sometimes he wears gloves even while performing.
More famous is that he sings or does humming while playing. We can enjoy his humming in many of his CDs.

*His repertory is different from others'.

He never played, so I think, the works of F. Chopin or Robert Schumann, which are ordinarily favorite ones for many pianists. He loves J.S.Bach. And Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Hindemith, Anton von Webern are the next. For us enthusiasts, the Mozart piano sonata works played by Glenn Gould are precious like a treasure box full of gold. In case of Beethoven, Bagatel works. In case of Brahms, Intermezzos. None of ordinary pianists can share the philosophy for the selection of repertory.

*His piano is special.

By watching at the video program "ON THE RECORD; OFF THE RECORD" manufactured in 1959, you can get the scene how Glenn Gould selected the best piano for his recording in the shop of the Steinway & sons. Gould was looking for the one with light action and broader width between keys. In his home he had a remodeled Chickering piano, so he liked this type of instrument. For almost all the recordings the specific Steinway & sons was used. But for the Goldberg, one old used Yamaha piano was used, which Gould found out by chance. Following the history of selecting pianos might be interesting for you.

*He is eccentric in his ordinary life.

Even when it was warm, he wore cloth on cloth on cloth even with gloves. He took many kinds of medicine all through the year. He never did shake-hands for the fear of affecting his hands, which might be common as pianist. One time when he was tapped by the shoulder, he got angry furiously about it.

*All in all, his musical performance is exceptional.

There were numerous episodes which showed his eccentricities. But without those episodes, only listening to his performances, for example, the Goldberg, the Well-tempered Clavier, especially Volume 2 No.14 or Mozart piano sonata No.11, can give us a great musical pleasure. It is not necessary to have any information not related to his music itself.

(3) Method of "INTELLECT"@

Now we are going to think about the method of "INTELLECT" in the field of art including music. Many of you may know "the Birth of Venus" created by Sandro Botticelli. We may use it as a material for thinking. The Birth of Venus was accomplished in 1485 or so, and it is one of the most famous paintings in the area of Italian Renaissance. Even before the historical repair, the Birth of Venus was famous enough saying, "among more or less sooty colors emerges its calm beauty." But the repair work completed by the year 1982 revealed its fundamental and original beauty, so the painting was again widely applauded. It was said "There are many lights in various amorous colors." The repair work was to take away the dust sticked on the surface in years with the present highest level technology and with the professionals' unbelievable patiences. The result made people surprised at its true beauty.

Let's apply this case to the Goldberg. Where is the complete difference between paintings and musical works? You can see the paintings as it is, with or without understanding. Nowadays, we can enjoy the painting its colors and contents looking at its copy well done by the finest printing technology. If you have time and money, you can visit Florence, Italy, and stand in front of "the Birth of Venus". But in former years, it was almost impossible to see the work itself for ordinary people.

J.S.Bach published the Goldberg Variations as the practice pieces volume 4, and the Goldberg was almost forgotten after Bach passed away. R. Schumann loved the Welltemperd Clavier, but made no comment about the Goldberg. Even you have the score, you can not enjoy it, only you can look at it. There should be a player, I mean, pianist for you to listen to the music. Paintings can be seen if they are open to public. In the era without recording technique, music could exist in this world only while someone was playing it. So, I suppose, Bach chose the form of "the practice pieces" to publish, in order to get more people acquaint his works.

50 or 60 years ago, the Goldberg existed only in a form of scorebook. As music itself few people could experience the Goldberg. Glenn Gould utilized the newly developed recording technology and showed us the genuine existence. The Goldberg was reincarnated by Glenn Gould into our world with dazzling lights.

Now we can enjoy the Birth of Venus on virtuous printed materials or data on CDROMs in our home or our neighborhood library, whose images are as good as the real one. However, it is the best to stand in front of it in its real scale at the Uffizi Palace, and to feel the atmosphere with other adorers.

The Goldberg is now in CD, so we can listen to it anytime, anyplace or under any circumstances. On the contrary, we can never attend the performance of J.S.Bach or even Glenn Gould. All we have now is the Goldberg Variations composed by J.S.Bach and played by a so-so pianist. Music without performer does not seem to work at all. Instead, there are more than 30 combinations of the Goldberg by Bach and by a pianist. Even Gould made two official recording versions. Analogizing this situation with the Birth of Venus, these performances of the Goldberg are like printed materials or copies?

By the way, the Venus of Botticelli was given another life in another place. That was produced by Andy Warhol. Many of you know the portrait of Marilyn Monroe done by Warhol. Warhol transformed the face of the Venus into another individual artwork. The work is from the Venus of Botticelli, but the artist of it was Andy Warhol. How is the case of the Goldberg?

I am the reborn Venus.
I had my hair cut.
And I've come to the 21st Century.
I'd like to be an ordinary woman and enjoy the Goldberg Variations.
Minicking Andy Wahool
Hi! Glenn and Iori.
Nice to see you.

I am talking about "Music of Intellect". So it is necessary for me to deal with a certain musical work as the object of "Intellect". How do I manage it? Some of critics say like "splendid performance without any kinds of vanity ornaments", "I feel very happy to hear it because there are no dust nor feather, and because it draws a very sharp edge", "instead of dignity or concentration, going outward" or "pulling the music to one's pianism, and at the same time, exploring deep into the inner world of the work". Those expressions are obscure and meaningless. I don't want to use these pedantic sentences. But anyway our trial toward "Music of Intellect" should be interesting, not tasteless. So, we have to avoid carefully those ciphers used among music critics for explaining the context of scores. Using those ciphers may be somehow effective, but in other words, it is like "interpreting one language into another foreign language which we can not understand.

The point is that the score is the start, and investigate the performances accomplished until now by various pianists. It means that it is necessary to check almost all CDs of the Goldberg Variations. To look into the secrets between the score and the recording is important. Fortunately not a few pianists recorded the Goldberg. So we have good samples to study.

(4) Where is the existence as music? @

By the way, where is the existence as music? From the view of composers, the result might be scores, but without performance there will be no music at all. In Bach's era or before, the reputation of a specific work made its score published and it became more popular. So the score itself could be said the music. In case of the Goldberg, we need the score, a performer and an instrument to listen to it. Some of us have an ability to hear the tune inside head by only reading the score. Some memorize the entire score, then there is no need to look at the score. In case of rock or Jazz, the score itself is not always necessary. Thinking about these situations, the SMF data, in other words, MIDI data belong to the score, or to performing the tune? Confusing?

(5) Free from pianists@

I would like to point out here that the Goldberg has been free from the pianists' kingdom since we could have the MIDI data of it, 250 years long after the completion of the Goldberg. If you are one of enthusiasts of the Goldberg and you can handle the MIDI data with any sequencer, you will meet your own Goldberg without through pianists' hands.

This kind of freedom is indispensable for us. Under this freedom the Goldberg can be an object of "Music of Intellect". But this freedom is a very tough companion. gould said, "There is a harmony integrated under intuition here. This harmony is born from skill and careful examination, is matured under perfect technique and emerges as illusion of idea drawn unconsciously. It stands proudly on the top." It is difficult to understand. "Skill" or "technique" is for composition or performance? I do not know. Anyway, it needs great efforts to obtain this "freedom" in our hands.

The word "freedom" is difficult to handle. You may think that you can get unlimited freedom. But it is not. The limit of this freedom depends on each person's range of skill and technique. However, utilizing MIDI, much or less you can go beyond the wall of ability of tapping the keys of piano. Actually the ability of fingers confines the quality of music. Liberalization from the curse of fingers is itself wonderful even if can not see anything beyond the border.

(6) Free from instruments @

Gould thought "Any argument about Bach's music can not be away from the selection of instruments. That is the problem of piano? or harpsichord? or ???". Gould himself used his specially tuned piano whose tone resembles to that of harpsichord. After he quitted his performance on stage, he only used pianos of his own home and of the recording studio. Of course, he played the organ for recording "the Art of Fugue". And sometimes he played the harpsichord. But these occasions were exceptional.

gould said, "The selection of instrument is not important at all." He appreciated the music of Synthesizers or Walter Carlos. Saying so, he paid great attention and interests to the action of keys.

We use SMF(standard midi file), so any sound source which ca deal with MIDI will be OK. Naturally we use piano sounds. The superior sound source will give us really good sound. The sound source specific for piano should provide us better sound. Some can prepare various key measures.

Using SMF, it is easy to experience performance on harpsichord selecting harpsichord sound. More is possible. The pipe organ, the oboe or even orchestra is available. It is fun to use sampling sound like human laughing on the second variation.

To amuse the music sincerely, it is necessary for us to choose the right sound source. It is also important to set the level properly. In near future, "how the sound of the Goldberg Variations played on the cembalo in the waiting room of the Count was resonanting and brought to the ears of Count Keyserlingk in the midnight" can be reproduced virtually.

(7) What is SMF(standard midi file)?@

Standard MIDI file is a common format in order to make possible to exchange music data freely amomg different sequencers or sequencer softs. In other words, it does not matter which type of computer you use, namely MAC or WINDOWS. This set of data of the Goldberg Variations was at first started to make on my ATARI computer. Afterwards it was converted into SMF, and now on my Sony Vaio. This is the most valuable and intellectual tool.

(8) Reference:
History of the system @

I would like you to show the history of my music system.
in 1981 ( the first generation )
ATARI400, MUSIC-COMPOSER ( cartridge )
( CPU motoroller6502, 32KB, cassette recorder )

in 1984( the second generation )
( CPU6502, 130KB, 5inch diskdrive )

in 1986 ( the third generation )
( CPU68000, 1MB, 3.5inch diskdrive ),
MUSIC-STUDIO, SteinbergPRO24 ( after 1989 ),
digital-piano ( after 1987 ), SC88 ( after 1994 )
Then MIDI system was established.

in 1995 ( the forth generation )
( CPUDX4/100MHz, 8MB, 540MBharddisk, CDROM, Windows3.1 )

in 1996 ( the fifth generation )
( CPUDX4/100MHz, 32MB, 2.1GBhadrdisk, CDROM, Windows95 )

in 1999( the sixth generation )
SONY VAIO PCG-862 Notebook computer
( Pentium 2, 233Mhz, 64MB, 4.0GBharddisk, CDROM, software synth, Windows98 )
( upgrade to 28GBharddisk and WindowsMe in 2000, 192MB and 220GBharddisk in 2006 )

in 2008( the seventh generation )
DELL studio 1535 Notebook computer
( Core2Duo 2.10GHz, 4.00GB, 320GBharddisk, DVDROM, software synth, Windows VISTA )

To be continued

Part 1

3 - The Analysis of Music @

Here, I am going to analyze the Goldberg Variations BWV988 as "Music of Intellect" from the score and from performances.

(1) The Analysis of the Score @

(a) The Score @
the name of the original (in German)

Clavier-Ubung bestehend in einer Aria mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen. Denen Liebhabern zur Gemuths-Ergetzung verfertiget von Johann Sebastian Bach, Konigl, Pohl. und Churfl. Saechs. Hof-Compositeur, Capellmeister u. Directore Chori Musici in Leipzig. Nurnberg in Verlegung Balthasar Schmids.
Keyboard practice or clavier etude consisting of an Aria with different variations for the harpsichord with two manuals. Prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers by the Court Composer for the king of Poland and Selected Governor of Saechs, Director of Music in Leipzig von Johann Sebastian Bach. Published by Verlegung Balthasar Schmids in Nurnberg.


in einer

A r i a

mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen
vors Clavicimbal
mit 2 Manualen.
Denen Liebhabern zur Gemuths
-Ergetzung verfertiget von

Johann Sebastian Bach,

Konigl, Pohl. und Churfl. Saechs. Hof
-Compositeur, Capellmeister u. Directore
Chori Musici in Leipzig.
Nurnberg in Verlegung
Balthasar Schmids.

The year of composition

In the Leipzig era, in 1741 or 1742 of Bach's matured age.

In the same era, the Well-Tempered Clavier volume 2 was published. But this volume No.2 contains works which were composed some more years before, so they were not completed in a limited term with concentration. Moreover, at that time " the Art of Fugue" was been under composition parallelly with the Goldberg. It means more.

The version of scores for the analysis of music

The version by Ralph Kirkpatrick
The scorebook with a note "on September 15th, 1934 in Salzburg" on the cover was translated into Japanese and published by "Zennon" a Japanese publisher. This score contains detailed descriptions and explanations by Ralph Kirkpatrick himself, and of course the original score and with the second scores with note ornament's descriptions "how to play actually these ornaments". So, amateurs can trace the way to the actual performance. Without this scorebook, I could not have imagined how to analyze "the Goldberg" by myself.

The version of Brightcop; the version of Bach's Association

The association which was established in 1850 to publish the works of J.S.Bach is The Bach's Association. It had published 46 volumes until 1900 with the help of a publisher Brightcop & Heltel. This is called "Bach's Complete Works".

Other versions

In ordinary scores for piano lessons, original parts are eliminated and there are wrong interpretations concerning ornaments as if these were genuine. We must be careful about it.

Scores resembled to the original may have difficulties. Because there are only original styles of ornaments. Novices cannot study using these scores for they don't know what mean ornaments.

(b) Instruments and tuning @

The original score specifies the cembalo with two manuals. As the score indicates you are going to play, you need a cembalo with two manuals. There are some parts where two hands are physically overlapping. Glenn Gould Played the Goldberg on Video program in 1981. He played piano but his two hands were moving on the keyboard freely enough like using two manuals. When piano is used for performance, some parts are usually transposed one octave higher or lower, or some notes are eliminated.

Naturally tuning was not specified to be well-tempered. There is no problem in using well-tempered piano. Other tuning may create a better taste.

(c) The expression on the score @

(Click Name or , then music will start.)

(all at once midi or mp3 )
Ariamidi mp3 mp3-page G major3/432 One
Variation 01 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322One
Variation 02 midi mp3 mp3-page G major2/4323One
Variation 03 midi mp3 mp3-page G major12/8163Onecanon all Unisono
Variation 04 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/8324One
Variation 05 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322One or Two
Variation 06 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/8323Onecanon alla Secunda
Variation 07 midi mp3 mp3-page G major6/8322One or Two
Variation 08 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322Two
Variation 09 midi mp3 mp3-page G major4/4163Onecanon alla Terza
Variation 10 midi mp3 mp3-page G major2/2324OneFuguetta
Variation 11 midi mp3 mp3-page G major12/16322Two
Variation 12 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4323Onecanon alla Quarta
Variation 13 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4323Two
Variation 14 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322Two
Variation 15 midi mp3 mp3-page g minor2/4323Onecanon alla Quinta
Variation 16 midi mp3 mp3-page G major2/2-3/848 OneFrench Overture
Variation 17 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322Two
Variation 18 midi mp3 mp3-page G major2/2323Onecanon alla marcia
Variation 19 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/8323One
Variation 20 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322Two
Variation 21 midi mp3 mp3-page g minor4/4163Onecanon alla Settima
Variation 22 midi mp3 mp3-page G major2/2324OneAlla breve
Variation 23 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4322-4Two
Variation 24 midi mp3 mp3-page G major9/8323Onecanon alla Ottava
Variation 25 midi mp3 mp3-page g minor3/4323TwoAdagio
Variation 26 midi mp3 mp3-page G major18/16-3/4323Two
Variation 27 midi mp3 mp3-page G major6/8322Twocanon alla Nona
Variation 28 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4323Two
Variation 29 midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/4323One
Variation 30 midi mp3 mp3-page G major4/4324TwoQuodlibet
Aria da Capo midi mp3 mp3-page G major3/432One

The Goldberg Variations
Click the name of the tune, music will start.
It might take a while before the download be stable.
playtime00:00 [length;00:00]

The Goldberg Variations Complete ----- by midi - by mp3

(Send me your opinion or impression.)

(d) Key @

G Major or G minor

There are 3 variations with G minor, but aria and other variations are all with G Major. We would like to discuss about the reason why Bach chose mainly G Major for this work.

(e) Range of notes @
The highest note is 1G and the lowest is d3. The range of notes is not so wide because this work is for cembalo. And it extends only about 4 and half octaves. For your information R. Schumann's Kreisleriana uses 6 octaves.
And, because it is originally for the cembalo with two manuals, two hands are overlapping each other in middle range. Some pianists alter the octave.

(f) Composition @

[ repeat ] @
For every aria or variation, the score requires repeats, namely AABB. It is not so normal. In case of the Well-Tempered Clavier, repeats are exceptional.
On the contrary, performers usually don't obey this rule. They choose one of the basic four alternatives, like A-B-, A-BB, AAB-, AABB. The combination depends on each performer's thought. It seems uncommon as far as I know in the classic music world. For your information, [-] of A-B- means omission of a repeat.
First, let's study the performance by Glenn Gould. We can find the big difference between '1955' and '1981' related to the combination of repeats. In 1955 there were 32 A-B-s. In other words, there was no repeat. (In 1959's live performance, there were 30 A-B-s and 2 AAB-s.) In 1981 there were 13 AAB-s. So the playing time of 1981 was naturally a little longer. Anyway there were no A-BB nor AABB.
According to the score, there should be several variations in which the first play and the repeated play are different in the 16th bar. these variations are the 2nd, the 4th, the 6th, the 16th and the 25th. In 1955 Gould ignored these cases and played as A-B-. Some notes written by J. S. Bach were surprisingly omitted.
The performances can be varied depending on repeats' arragement.

[ number of bars ] @

The Aria consists of 32 bars. This number '32' is equal to the number of this total work. The Aria consists of two parts with 16 bars each. Each variation basically consists of the first part with 16 bars and the second part with 16 bars also. Exceptionally the 3rd, the 9th, the 21st and the 30th consist of 16 bars in total, and the 16th consists of the first part with 16 bars and the second part with 32 bars, in total 48 bars.

[ beats ] @

The basic pattern is the Aria's 3/4 beats. There are 15 of 3/4 beats. 3 of 4/4, 2 of 2/4, 3 of 3/3, 3 of 2/2, 2 of 6/8, 1 of 12/8, 1 of 12/8, 1 of 12/16, 1 of 9/8, 1 of 18/16 and 3/4. In case of the 26th variation, the left hand plays 18/16 beats and the right hand plays 3/4. It is very special.

[ canon ] @

There are nine canons at intervals successively from the unison to the ninth, those at the fourth (the 12th variation) and fifth (the 15th variation) in contrary motion, that at ninth without any independent third voice, such as accompanies the others.
Canon is a form of counterpoint method, in which one melody is duplicated and followed by its own clone strictly. The first means that the follower is on the same height, in other words unison canon. So, the eighth canon has a follower melody of one octave high or low. The composition of canon is a highly sophisticated intellectual work.
For your information, in the year 1974, 14 canons (BWV 1087) based on the chord of the Goldberg Variations were discovered in Strasbourg.
Of course, canon is not only of the era of Bach but also the era of Mozart, Beethoven or Schumann, who used often the canon method. Especially Robert Schumann wanted to get mental stability by studying and practicing canons. Schumann thought, "It is very useful to analyze canons and fugues. It will give us the humanistic and moral strength. The works of Bach are never shrinked or morbid. They were composed to have immortal lives." But Schumann did not mention much about the Goldberg Variations. He talked frequently about the Well-Tempered Clavier and other works. If he loved the Goldberg Variations much more and Clara played the arias and variations for his husband, I suppose, he would not have had so painful days suffering from his mental disease. But in the fantasy novel 'Kreisleriana' written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1838, a conductor-composer named Johannes Kreisler played a work which might be the Goldberg Variations at its opening. This novel was said to inspire Robert Schumann's piano pieces 'Kreisleriana'.
Arnold Schoenberg, who is credited with the invention of serialism, or 12-tone music, is known as a master of canon. The 17th and 18th of 'Pierrot Lunaire' are the good examples of canon.

(2) The Analysis of performance @

Let's analyze the Goldberg Variations.

playGlenn GouldGlenn GouldFujitaSMFKarkpatrickMari KumamotoLandowskaYerk DemusDaniel BarenboimKarl RichterTon Koopman Gustav Leonhardtplay
year 19811955199219521993193419??1989197019871976year
tunerepeatdurationtmpf/prepeatdurationtmp repeatdurationtmpf/prepeatdurationtmprepeatdurationtmpf/prepeatdurationtmprepeatdurationtmp repeatdurationtmprepeatdurationtmprepeatdurationtmprepeatdurationtmptune
mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =mm:ssq =
AriaA-B-03:05321.5 A-B-01:5352A-B-02:393755 A-B-02:0248AaBB04:16462.0A-B-02:1743A-B-02:1444AABB04:5340AABB04:0348AAB-03:5438A-B-02:3039Aria
var01A-B-01:10953.0A-B-00:45147A-B-00:4614487 A-B-01:01109A-B-00:551203.0A-B-01:4563AABB02:02109AABB01:54116AABB02:2095AAB-01:26116A-B-01:3371var01
var02A-B-00:49852.0A-B-00:37113A-B-00:498555 A-B-01:1953AABB01:25982.5A-B-00:5477AABB01:5771AABB02:0069AABB01:4480AAB-01:0793A-B-01:0465var02
var03AAB-01:301022.3A-B-00:54113A-B-00:4613371 A-B-01:4956AaBb01:591032.3A-B-01:01100AABB02:4076AABB02:1889AABB02:2386AAB-01:3498A-B-01:00102var03
var04AAB-00:50903.0A-B-00:29104AAB-00:538555 A-B-00:3586AABb00:591023.3AABB01:0395AABB01:0494AABB00:59102AaBb01:1086AAB-00:5090A-B-00:3488var04
var05A-B-00:371602.5A-B-00:37160A-B-00:3716087 A-B-00:44135A-B-00:411442.5A-Ba00:5685AABB01:25139AABB01:24141AABB01:56102AAB-01:22108A-B-01:0099var05
var06AAB-00:401142.0A-B-00:3490AAB-00:4410447 A-B-00:3978AABB01:23742.0A-B-00:4666AABB02:0748AABB01:2969AABB01:2175AAB-01:0669A-B-01:0051var06
var07A-B-01:16782.0A-B-01:0887A-B-01:276847 A-B-01:1579A-B-01:17772.0A-Ba01:1365AABB02:0495AaBB01:57101AABB02:0495AAB-01:17115A-B-01:0492var07
var08A-B-00:531133.0A-B-00:45133A-B-00:4015071 A-B-01:0592A-B-00:561073.0A-B-00:55109AABB01:56103AABB02:0398AABB02:1688AAB-01:4685A-B-01:1778var08
var09AAB-00:591022.0A-B-00:37108AAB-01:0010055 A-B-01:0958AAB-01:19762.3A-B-01:0859AABB02:2256AABB01:3089AABB01:5669AAB-01:2372A-B-01:1156var09
var10AAB-01:041823.0A-B-00:42185A-BB01:0817179 A-B-01:00129AaB-01:111642.5AABB01:32169AABB02:02127AaBB02:06123AABB01:34165AAB-01:22142A-B-00:52149var10
var11A-B-00:531122.5A-B-00:54110A-B-00:5710471 A-B-00:48124A-B-01:11832.0A-B-01:1085AABB01:48110AABB02:0893AABB02:1290AAB-01:4089A-B-01:2570var11
var12AAB-01:38923.3A-B-00:58103A-B-01:059263 A-B-01:2174A-B-01:13823.0A-B-01:1481AABB03:5152AABB02:0993AABB02:4871AAB-02:2960A-B-01:5353var12
var13A-B-02:38372.0A-B-02:1045A-B-01:575047 A-B-02:3338A-B-02:39372.0A-B-02:4935AABB05:2436AABB04:5040AABB03:1560AAB-03:4140A-B-02:4037var13
var14A-B-01:04933.0A-B-00:58102A-BB01:1412063 A-B-01:0690A-B-01:08873.0A-B-01:1085AABB02:0992AABB02:3079AABB02:1588AAB-01:4287A-B-01:2074var14
var15AaB-05:02202.0A-B-02:1729A-B-03:012255 A-B-02:1330A-B-02:44242.3A-B-02:3226A-B-02:3825AaBB04:5327AaBb04:3029AAB-03:0133A-B-02:5023var15
var16A-B-01:38453.5A-B-01:1857A-BB01:297587 A-B-01:3945A-Bb02:03543.3A-BB01:5558A-Bb02:1549AABB03:1346AABB03:0249AAB-02:3144A-B-01:2652var16
var17A-B-00:541102.3A-B-00:53112A-B-00:4712655 A-B-00:50118A-B-00:551082.0A-B-00:46129AABB02:0992AABB01:43115AABB02:1488AAB-01:5379A-B-01:0296var17
var18AAB-01:031882.0A-B-00:48164A-BB01:1416047 A-B-01:01129AaB-01:111672.3A-Ba00:52121AABB01:38161AABB01:21195AaBb01:34168AAB-01:03188A-B-00:44179var18
var19A-B-01:03481.5A-B-00:4272A-B-00:339263 A-B-00:4371AaB-01:10652.3A-B-00:4765AABB01:5254AABB01:2869AABB01:3167AAB-01:0669A-B-01:0051var19
var20A-B-00:501183.0A-B-00:48123AAB-01:1412071 A-B-01:0394A-B-00:561063.0A-B-00:57104AABB02:0396AABB01:51107AABB02:1488AAB-01:5180A-B-01:1579var20
var21AaB-02:12452.5A-B-01:4239AAB-02:443663 A-B-01:1056AAB-02:44362.5A-B-02:1130A-B-01:4637AABB02:4049AaBb02:2953AAB-02:0248A-B-01:5634var21
var22AaB-01:031872.5A-B-00:42187AAB-00:5920039 A-B-01:10112AAB-01:001973.0AABB01:35166AABB01:30175AaBb01:18202AABB01:31173AAB-01:04184A-B-00:46171var22
var23A-B-00:581012.5A-B-00:54109A-B-00:4912055 A-B-00:58101A-B-01:11832.5A-B-01:1578AABB02:1388AABb02:2681AABB02:1786AAB-01:5875A-B-01:2074var23
var24AAB-01:44641.8A-B-00:5777A-B-01:037079 A-B-01:5439AABB02:35572.5AAB-01:3570AABB04:0236AABB01:5676AABB03:0248AAB-02:0155A-B-01:5439var24
var25A-B-06:03161.5A-B-06:2915A-B-04:272247 A-B-04:0024A-B-05:34181.5A-B-03:5026A-B-03:3627AaBB10:3618AABB06:5029AAB-05:3326A-B-04:0724var25
var26A-B-00:511153.3A-B-00:52113A-B-00:5410963 A-B-01:0591A-B-00:561053.3A-B-01:0393AABB02:0693AaBB01:41117AABB02:3377AAB-01:5974A-B-01:1381var26
var27AaB-01:211102.3A-B-00:49121A-B-00:4712687 A-B-00:51116A-B-00:561062.5A-B-00:50118AABB01:56102AABB01:34126AABB01:53105AAB-01:3594A-B-00:57104var27
var28A-B-01:03942.0A-B-01:1084AAB-01:2510463 A-B-01:0788A-B-01:09852.5A-B-01:1876AABB02:3377AABB02:3178AABB02:2979AAB-02:0173A-B-01:3363var28
var29A-B-01:01962.5A-B-01:0098AAB-01:1711495 A-B-01:0689A-B-01:01963.0A-B-01:1578AABB02:1388AABB02:0594AABB02:1388AAB-01:5278A-B-01:1182var29
var30AaB-01:30683.0A-B-00:4885AAB-01:277071 A-B-00:5969AAB-01:25723.0A-B-00:5278AABB01:5869AaBB01:4081AABB01:4280AAB-01:3167A-B-01:0562var30
AriaDCA-B-03:46261.0A-B-02:1145AABB04:534056 A-B-02:0746A-B-02:50341.5A-B-02:2042A-B-02:1543A-B-02:4635A-B-02:0547A-B-02:4236A-B-02:3039AriaDC
total0:51:08tmp 0:38:21tmp0:45:45tmp0:42:22tmp0:52:52tmp0:45:46tmp1:13:48tmp1:19:52tmp1:17:26tmp1:02:22tmp0:47:12tmptotal
playGlenn GouldGlenn GouldFujitaSMFKarkpatrickMari KumamotoLandowskaYerk DemusBarenboimKarl RichterTon Koopman Leonhardtplay

(a) Who played ? @

The first and monumental recorded performance was that of Ms. Wanda Landowska in the year 1934. This record was so famous that there was no necessity to have another record of the Goldberg Variations for a long time. In 1955 Glenn Gould told to the CBS Record that he intended to record the Goldberg Variations for his debut album, but one of the executives of CBS opposed this plan, saying, "You don't want to take a goddamned risk to throw away your novice recording pianist career by choosing such an unfavorable, reluctant and intricate work." or "As to the Goldberg Variations, everybody knows that dreadful Wanda Landowska, and she played and recorded with her dreadful harpsichord. Among music freaks, the Goldberg means Landowska."
Who performed the Goldberg? According to the list of CDs which I can get now, in the recording year order, Wanda Landowska, Karl Richter, Gustav Leonhardt, Glenn Gould (re-recording), Ton Koopman, Daniel Barenboim and Mari Kumamoto from Japan recorded the Goldberg Variations. Glenn Gould recorded in Salzburg in 1957. Yerk Demus also recorded but I don't know when. In addition, Tatiana Nikolayeva and Andrei Gavrilov made recordings.
According to the list of concerts of Glenn Gould, he played the Goldberg Variations for the audience 27 times all over the world (except Japan: He never visited Japan.). The first stage performance of the Goldberg Variations was in Ottawa at age of 23. The last and final stage performance of the Goldberg was in Los Angeles in 1961. In those days people could enjoy the Goldberg on stage by Glenn Gould if they wanted.

(b) When did they do recording ? @

Wanda Landowska did the oldest recording of the Goldberg Variations, as far as I know, in 1934. The next oldest recording was surprisingly of Glenn Gould in 1955. The third oldest might be Glenn Gould's 1959 live recording which he intended or not intended, I'm not sure. The next should be Karl Richter's in 1970, 10 years or so passed. After several years passed, Gustav Leonhardt did the recording in 1976. These two great masters did great and characteristic achievements with noble appearance which will remain in history. After a while in 1981 Glenn Gould did astonishing re-recording.
After that, in 1987 Ton Koopmann, in 1989 Daniel Barenboim. But the strong influence of Glenn Gould's Goldberg affected those recordings down. The recent recording of Miss Mari Kumamoto in 1993 gives us a good and natural impression because she had no rivalry towards Gould at all. Miss Mari Kumamoto worships Glenn Gould so much and she is proud of her own experience that she met Gould himself and was given a message from him when she was a student.

(c) Piano or Cembalo ? That is the question ? @

Who played the piano are Glenn Gould, Daniel Barenboim, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Andrei Gavrilov, Mari Kumamoto, as far as I know. Who played the cembalo are Karl Richter, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopmann, Yerk Demus, Wanda Landowska and additionally Keith Jarrett. The choice of instruments totally depends on performers' intention. Glenn Gould chose his favorite one of many Steinway & Sons pianos (C174) for his debut recording. For re-recordig of the Goldberg Variations Gould used a Yamaha's secondhanded piano which he encountered by chance in New York City because his preferably using Steinway & sons (CD318; made in 1945) was damaged during transport and he could not use it.
Gustav Leonhardt used a cembalo made by William Dought in 1975 based on the Branche model cembalo made in Paris in 1730s.

(d) Is it true that the tempo on which Gould recorded in 1955 was terribly fast ? @

Definitely the duration of Gould's performance of the whole of the Goldberg Variations in 1955 is very short and actually 38min 17sec. However he played without repeats, so it cannot be compared simply. If Glenn Gould played with repeats for all, namely, not A-B- but AABB, the duration must be doubled. Then it will be 76min 34sec. Daniel Barenboim required 82min 38sec. (Barenboim played the last Aria with A-B-, all others with repeats. So 2min 46sec was added to 79min 52sec as repeat portion of the last Aria.) There is only about 8% difference. Not great? Speed of Performance cannot be calculated only by the length of time.

Speed of Performance
Comparison of two performances by Glenn Gould

About the Aria and some variations, '1955' was faster than '1981'. Others had almost the same tempo. One or two of '1981' were faster.

(e) How to deal with repeats ? @

Glenn Gould played A-B- only in 1955. In 1981, the number of A-B- is 19 and that of AAB- is 13. There was a great change between 2 versions. In the live performance in 1959, only two variations, the 4th and the 30th, were of AAB-. "How to deal with repeats" depends on performers.
Karl Richter and Daniel Barenboim played all AABBs except the last Aria's A-B-. Yerk Demus played basically AABBs except the first and last Arias, the 15th, the 21st and the 25th variation which are of slow tempo. Ton Koopmann played strangely all AAB-s except the Aria da Capo's A-B-. Gustav Leonhardt played all A-B-s against anticipation that he should have been somehow stubborn. Miss Mari Kumamoto played freely as a whole. She applied pliantly variety of combinations, and her performance was very attractive.
Wanda Landowska was eccentric. She recorded in 1934, in the era of SPs, so whole variations needed 3 or 4 disks. And at that time there was only one recording. There was no other records, so her performance had exactly a great influential power. But there is something strange. She played basically A-B-s. I thought that it was necessary for her to shorten the playing time. Suddenly at the 4th variation she used AABB, then next variation, the 5th, she played A-B(A/2) a little surprisingly. A-B(A/2) means that after playing the latter half's 16 bars and succeedingly the first half 8 bars of the first 16 bars. This kind of thing happened in the 7th and 18th. Wanda Landowska was seemed to have added her individual touch. I don't think it was reasonable at all because no other performer except her played at that time, and moreover her record was the only the Goldberg Variations for a long time.

Sviatoslav Richter went to hear Zuzana Ruzickova's Goldberg Variations on cembalo in 1975 and took note about it. "It was the first experience for me to listen to this great work by Bach on cembalo. I have been to the concert of it by Glenn Gould and also listened to his record. Someday in future I wish I could play it for myself.... if I could go through to the end. This performer born in Prague played it sincerely. Thankfully she played all the repeats. (You had better not play it at all without designated repeats.)*"
In 1972, after listening to the record of Bach's Partitas by Glenn Gould, Richter wrote, "Gould is the greatest performer of Bach." But he added, "He plays a little bit too brilliantly. In other words, his play is somehow superficial. Moreover he dares not play any repeats. I can not tolerate it*."
After all Richiter never recorded or even played the Goldberg Varitions on any occasion in his life.
(*Bruno Monsaingeon: Richter, Ecrits, Conversations 1998 Editions Van de Velde)

According to these data, there can be many types of performance.
What did Bach and Gould think about the repeats?

GG81GG55FujiKumaLandDemuBareRich KoopLeon
11 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AABB AABB AAB- A-B-11
13 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AABB AABB AAB- A-B-13
15 AaB- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AaBB AaBb AAB- A-B-15
16 A-B- A-B- A-BB A-Bb A-BB A-Bb AABB AABB AAB- A-B-16
17 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AABB AABB AAB- A-B-17
19 A-B- A-B- A-B- AaB- A-B- AABB AABB AABB AAB- A-B-19
21 AaB- A-B- AAB- AAB- A-B- A-B- AABB AaBb AAB- A-B-21
23 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AABb AABB AAB- A-B-23
25 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AaBB AABB AAB- A-B-25
26 A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AaBB AABB AAB- A-B-26
27 AaB- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- AABB AABB AABB AAB- A-B-27
AriaA-B- A-B- AABB A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B- A-B-Aria
GG81GG55FujiKumaLandDemuBareRich KoopLeon

(f) Tempo Allocation @

- Aria
There are more or less two ways of playing the Aria like 'ton -ton -toh -toh -toon' in a regular speed and toon -toon -too -too -tooooon' in a relaxed speed. It can be said that two versions of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould are the typical examples of these two ways. 1 min 53sec for '1955'. 3min 5sec for '1981'. There are substantial difference between two Gould's versions in relation with tempo. These two are of course both remarkably splendid. Almost of all tempos by other performers are between '1951' and '1981'. The version '1981' by Glenn Gould is as perfect as to be described 'filled with tension excelling the feeling of comfort or looseness.'
Only comparing the durations of play, 1 min 53 sec of Gould's '1955' is about half of 4 min 16 sec of Mari Kumamoto's '1933'. In case of Gould's '1955', the Aria will start and end while saying 'Ah'.

fast------------( converted on the basis of 'without repeats' )

----1'53" Glenn Gould '1955'

----2'08" Mari Kumamoto '1993' However AABB requires 4 min 16 sec
----2'17" Wanda Landowska '1934'
----2'39" FujitaSMF '1992'

----3'05" Glenn Gould '1955'
---(4'16") Mari Kumamoto '1993' ( 4 min 16 sec )


*About the 25th variation

Gould's '1981' (6min 3sec) was a little longer in duration than that of '1981' ( 6 min 29 sec ). Later Gould confessed that he played the 25th variation too sentimentally like playing F. Chopin's works.

To be continued...

Part 1

4 - The Way to the 'Music of Intellect'@

The Goldberg Variations for All and Each @
What on earth can the Goldberg Variations' enthusiasts, or music lovers, try to do ? With data in form of SMF ( standard music file ), a new type of performance can be tried on following topics. This should be called as an 'intellectual trial'.

(1) The combination of repeats @

Using 'copy' and 'delete' functions, you can alter the arrangement freely. It is possible to play two Arias and all Variations in form of either AABB or A-B- as you like. In some cases, you have to arrange a bit to smooth the connection parts between A and A or B and B. Even Daniel Barenboim, who employed all AABB, was playing with unusual feelings in those connecting parts. Anyway how to organize the combination of AB, AAB, ABB or AABB, depends on your own choice. The best choice will be achieved by listening actually to every type of combination for every aria or variation as many times as possible. But it is not sufficient. It is necessary to consider the relationship with the former or the later tune and the whole music flow. Glenn Gould played the Goldberg Variations only with AB in 1955, which was a choice of a genius.
Another choice may be imagined, like AA'B. What kind of seasoning can be done as A'. There should be a change of dynamics, attaching a decoration, etc. But it is very difficult to put the inevitability to these seasonings on the course of performance.

(2) Setting the Tempo @

Set the tempo each by each for each variation of the Goldberg.
Using computers and digital synthesizers makes it possible to play fast or slow as far as the function allows. It can be possible to play with the fast speed which any human performers have never accomplished. You may enjoy its tempo like from a supernatural virtuoso's performance.
Anyway we have to listen to it as many times as possible to know the relationship between notes and to feel the resonance note by note. Then set the tempo.
In order to play very slowly, we can convert all quarter notes to half notes, say, double the length of all notes. We can adjust the tempo much easier. In case of the Aria, I applied this method to accomplish the slowest tempo.

Faster tempo examples

The fifth variation, the tenth variation, the 18th variation and the 22nd variation have the faster tempo. You may think that the first variation may have a fast tempo. But the Aria's slow tempo makes the first variation's impression a faster one.

Slower tempo examples
The 25th variation is the one with the slowest tempo among arias and all variations of the Goldberg. It can be made much more slower if you want. But in case of slower tempo, it is important to make each note more significant with much energy of the performer. Otherwise, the play means nothing. Gould used 6 min 3 sec. For Fujita, 4 min 27 sec.

Swaying the tempo within one aria or variation
It may be unnecessary to change the tempo in one aria or variation at first. It might be better to set a certain tempo for one aria or each variation, one by one. Of course Glenn Gould played with retardand or tempo lubart, but I think he set the tempo in the strictest way.
Ralph Kirkpatrick said, "In case of Bach's works all the details of harmony and/or melody are properly allocated in order to establish the symmetrical relationship against the whole phrases or the whole movement. So if you attempt to add some changes in tempo, there would cause to make some distortion in its musical structure." He compared the sway of tempo as "an earthquake which gives curses to Baroque Architecture with splendid quality."
Actually when I varied the tempo easily, I felt like that the quality of performance might have been disgraced drastically. Especially in case of Bach's music, the structure of the work is more important than it's superficially emotional movement. So, it might be better for us to keep the tempo stably.

(3) Setting the dynamics @

Setting the dynamics ( or velocity ) should be done variation by variation.
Dynamics will be determined not only by the velocity of each note but also by the length of note and their accumulation. Even though all notes have the same velocity, the dynamics of the work can not be on one level. For example, a harpsichord can create a lively change of dynamics without changing registers by maneuvering length, timing and accumulation. MIDI data here are controlled mainly by giving one particular velocity for each aria or variation.
In case of piano, the sound character may vary depend on the strength of touching a key, from strong hitting to smooth touching. It is different from volume up or down of the amplifier. You can experience by touching your piano keyboard or by listening to the performance of great pianists.
So, setting the dynamics has definitely more importance than choosing a certain loudness like controlling volume of amplifier. It should determine the characteristic of sound nature. Of course it depends on the sound source. Anyway we have to understand the relationship between dynamics and sound character.
Fortunately our computer can manage to play any tune with a constant velocity. It means that a tune can be played with one character of a certain sound. Then only changing the velocity creates the characteristic difference between one tune and another.
Originally the Goldberg was for harpsichord. Harpsichord has registers. Players need to set registers for one tune/part or another. During a tune or a part, there won't be any change of registers. In case of harpsichord, the sound may not be affected by keytouch variations. Kirkpatrick said, "There should not be any change of registers within one variation. If you put some change, you will disturb the stability of the expression and destroy the symmetric structure of the music."
In the end and for the time being, let's set a constant velocity of one aria or variation, and avoid the change of velocity within one aria or variation.
But afterwards it can be valuable to study the possibility of utilizing the function of two stage keyboard. Like - left hand for one sound and right hand for another.

(4) The Variation of Ornaments @

In Bach's music, "The way how to treat ornaments" is one of the profoundest matters. There have been many kinds of interpretations on many documents. My set of MIDI data of the Goldberg Variations was mostly based on the interpretation of the Ralph Kirkpatrick's version. But the performance limitation of my sequencer and the inconvenience of data input method forced me to make some minor changes. And through listening to the playback many times , I made adjustments which I thought suitable. Then there would be more differences. I would say it is my version of the Goldberg Variations.
For example, trills could not be translated into MIDI as it was. Because the score can not explain how is the human performance over trills. There should be subtle nuance of rhythmic sense and balanced combination of left and right hand. I found this was the most difficult part of the translation towards MIDI using the score-to-data method.
As to the trill parts, it was very difficult for me to make computer midi data mechanically because real performers utilize complicated balances of rhythm between the right hand and the left hand. Human performance has its unique sense of rhythm which can not be written on the score. As you may know this is the most difficult part for step recorders like me.
And modern pianos have heavy keys and loud voices, so the method of trills of Bach's era might be unplayable or unsuitable on acoustics. In that cases we have to change the system of trills, I think. Anyway we have to listen to the interpretations by pianists like Glenn Gould and/or Miss Mari Kumamoto, then we will find many ways of performing. The way of treating trills may change the quality of music so it is necessary to be courageous or cautious.

Trillo/ -Mordant/ Trillo u. Mordant/ Cadence/ Doppelt-adence/ Doppelt-Cadence/
/Doppelt-Cadence u. Mordant/
Doppelt-Cadence u. Mordant/ Akzent steigend/ Akzent fallend/ Akzent u. Mordant/ Akzent u. Trillo/ Akzent u. Trillo

As to Bach's music, there are said to be less ornaments in general. However, in the Goldberg Variations, the effects produced by ornaments are strong. Especially the Aria becomes incredibly beautiful with best arranged ornaments. The original score with indications of ornaments is seemed to be very simple but it contains affluent musical expressions.
"In order to explain various signs and show the better way of performing ornaments" J.S.Bach put the whole list of ornaments in " A little lesson book for clavier ( 1720 )". Bach's children learnt the technique by this book.

(5) The length of notes @

According to the character of your computer system or software, the same consecutive notes sometimes are combined to each other and then a strange passage comes out. Systemside speaking, one note goes on and then off, then the next note goes on. But sometimes there may be a confusion between the previous note's off and the next note's on. I was annoyed by this kind of malfunction many times. Now the CPU power is high and many softwares know about this problem, so you may not encounter it. Anyway, if you shorten a little these notes like consecutive quarters of the same height, there will be no problem. The newest programs are supposed to have this kind of function.
In case of trills it can be better to make notes a little longer because consecutive notes are not on the same height.

(6) Pedalling @

There are two major contributions by using pedals. One is to sustain the sound of a note or notes. When one of your fingers touches and leaves the key, with pedal pushed, the note will be alive. In this respect we can get the same result by make the note longer as needed. It is easy.
Another is to make free the whole strings of your piano and make a wide resonance. It is very difficult to simulate manipulating midi data. Pianists are very keen to this effect of pedalling. There is more complicated technique called half pedalling. It will control the resonance. Real maestros, like Vladimir Horowitz, can enjoy this method.
The Goldberg Variations do not require pedalling. There are many opinions which say that it is better not to use pedals for the Goldberg Variations. I had thought that Glenn Gould did not use them at all. But in 1981's video, Gould's foot was touching a pedal several times. Gould said that he used mainly the soft pedal, and usually he didn't use the sustain pedal. Using the soft pedal means to use only one or two steel strings for one key of the piano, so the sound will be a little sharp and clear, he thought.
Midi has the pedal control data, but for us in case of the Goldberg Variations, in order to sustain the note, make the note longer as long as needed.

(7) The time length between one variation and another @

After the first aria finishes, then the first variation starts and then ends, and the next variation starts..... The interval between one and another, let's say it the length of the silence, is an important factor for performance. Gould's silences or timings are excellent. The time length depends on the characters of the previous part and next part. We have to listen much carefully to the silences of performances. However it is not clear how to determine the time length of silence. If there is one thing, it could be the continuity of the rhythm. Of course one and next usually have a different tempo and/or rhythm, but there should be an inner and unseen continuity. The performance of Glenn Gould has an inevitable 'space'.
It is rather easy to control this 'space' manipulating MIDI data. The tempo of 'space' could be changed.

(8) Transpose @

The original 'Goldberg Variations' are mainly of G major. I don't think any pianists would try to transpose the whole work to another key. In history there was no pianist who tried it.
Transposing should not be done for this kind of classic masterpiece easygoingly because every key has its own character. Especially the keyboard works are thought to be the one which should not transposed in the view of the method of tuning.
Arguments are which is the properest tuning method for the keyboard. It is usually said that J.S.Bach used the meantone method for organs. Possibly Bach used Andreas Werkmeister( 1645-1706)'s tuning method for claviers. Goldberg played The Goldberg Variations with a tuning method which was not the same one of present days, say, 'the mathematically even 12 tone method'.
Nowadays we don't have any problem concerning tuning happily or unhappily as far as using ordinary keyboards. It is easy to transpose to any tune. It will create only the height of sound and, as it's result, the atmosphere change. It will not create a resonance problem.

(9) Tuning @

J.S.Bach composed "the Well-Tempered Clavier", so many of you may think that Bach used the same kind of tuning method as the present one which we use now. However Bach thought the meantone method and Werkmeister's method as 'well-tempered'. I think It is very difficult for many of us to understand the difference between one and another temperament. So, don't worry about it too much.
Anyway I try to explain a little. Among do,re,mi,fa,so,ra,si,do, there are some combinations whose resonances are pure by nature. Those are octave(do-do), fifth(do-so), major-third(do-mi) and minor-third(ra-do). Octaves always can be tuned perfectly by harmonics. Fifth(do-so), major-third(do-mi) and minor-third(ra-do) are somehow difficult. Those can not be tuned as a whole by affecting each other. If you give priority to those combinations, fa and si go to too much nearer to the neighbors. Some chords produce roaring sounds, which caused nuisance for composers at that time. Then several tuning methods were invented in order to make tuning results be well-tempered which would make every note sound tolerably so-so. On the contrary, the pure resonances can not exist except octaves and the characters of key settings like A# Major or B minor etc have vanished away.
For violins and oboes, tunings are done by the pure tuning method. So purity of resonance can be kept even now. If you try to pursue a real resonance for the Goldberg Variations, you may have to leave this 'mathematically even 12 tone method' and to find another tuning method suitable for the Goldberg. It can be done using a tone generator which has this kind of functions to deal with relocation of cents of tones.

(10) The Analysis of Canons @

Canons were made with an especially intellectual work. By analysing the way of composition of Canons, I would like to study the new way of performance only by cembalo. We can enjoy the interesting aspects of Canons.

(11) Listen to the Goldberg Variations as many times as possible @
Above (1) to (10) are valuable to be thought, but the most important thing for us is to listen to the music many times and to make it more intellectual one. As Count Keyserlingk must have listened to this work played by J.G.Goldberg many and many times, so we should do so many times as possible.

To be continued....

Part 1

5 - Again the Goldberg Variations for Sleep @

(1) Sleep well ! @

Again we returned to the Aria. From here let's proceed to the realm of sleep once more. Gould said, "The theme (Aria) is not a destiny but a starting point. Variations draw a circle not a line." While continuing the intellectual challenge, we have to take a rest someday. I simulated a performance -goldslep.mid- which J.G.Goldberg played for Count Keyserlingk at night. This could be the real "Goldberg Variations". This is like " such a soft and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up with the tune played by J.G.Goldberg on cembalo in the adjacent room in his sleepless nights ".
So I remembered that there is an engraved score of the first part of the Aria on Glenn Gould's tomb stone in Toronto as though it might say " Sleep peace in heaven, our Dear Glenn Gould". I would like to think that Gould reached the world of the eternal sleep after having struggled with the challenge toward the Music of Intellect.

However Gould denied the relationship between the Goldberg Variations and 'Sleep'. He said "If this work functioned well as sleeping pills or a lullaby, it was very doubtful that 'Maestro' Goldberg played sincerely this work which had an agitating context and a bitter taste. "

Furthermore, commentators for CDs of this work always introduce this kind of story like 'It is a work for doze-wishers', and finally throw it as a mere anecdote.

(2) Forkel's "J.S.Bach's life, art, and artworks" @

Johann Nikolaus Forkel, a German professor of music, wrote a book called "J.S.Bach's life, art, and artworks" as a Bach's biography for the first time in history. Forkel was born in 1749, 7 years after the publication of the Goldberg Variations, 1 year and half before Bach passed away. He entered the University of Gettingen?, faculty of law. But he preferred music and afterwards got the music director position of his university at his 30. He could be called as a musician rather than a biography writer. He composed an oratorio as a composer and wrote a history of music as a professor of music.

Forkel had been got acquainted with Bach's children, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Through these channels he gathered useful information about J.S.Bach in order to prepare to write his biography in 1802 at 52 of his age.

According to the Bach's biography, the Goldberg Variations was born like as follows;

The birth of this work, which should have been the model for all kinds of variations and on the contrary no variations following this model were made by other composers with an obvious reason, owed Count Hermann Carl von Keyserlingk a lot, who was at that time the Russian Envoy to the Court of the Elector of Saxony. Count Keyserlingk visited and stayed Leipzig several times. He accompanied there Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg who worked as a clavierist for Count Keyserlingk. The Count asked Bach to give Goldberg lessons again. Count was weak in health and suffered from insomnia. Golderg was assigned to play the cembalo in order to comfort his temper in the adjacent room as long as Count was awake at night.

One day the Count asked Bach to compose a clavier work for him which would be cheerful and could enlighten up his mind. Bach accepted the Count's request because Bach appreciated the Count's supports for him and actually they were close friends in spite of the difference as to social status. Bach thought that variations would be best fitting to the Count's request, however Bach could not have felt any amusement about variations until that time because variations were boring with always the same chord progression.

In those days all Bach's works were the model of art. This work became also the model of variations by his hands and it was the only one set of variations of this type. The Count called this work as 'My variations'. He never got tired of it. When he felt uneasiness at night, he always made Goldberg play it saying 'Mr. Goldberg, play one of my variations'. For J.S.Bach it seemed to be the only one occasion when he received such amount of reward.

The Count sent Bach a goblet filled with gold '100 Louie' coins. However it will not be sufficient for Bach to have got a 1000 times more reward if we take into consideration the artistic value of this work for the world.

I would comment a little more according to other documents;
In 1741 Bach traveled to Dresden the capital of the Court of the Elector from Leipzig where Bach was assigned to work. Dresden was a center city of advanced music movements at that time and he was carrying the title of the designated Court Composer of Dresden. In Dresden Bach visited Count Keyserlingk, at that time Russian Ambassador, to express his thanks for the Count helped Bach to get the honorable title. Bach met a 14 years old boy called Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg there who was recruited for his musical talent at 10 or so years old from Dantzih and was employed at the Count's residence. He continued his training for musical skills as clavierist.
But, not only Glenn Gould but also others claimed against this episode which is widely thought unreliable. Considering the power of the Goldberg Variations, this work is not on the level described as 'gentle and a bit cheerful', it should be a music with sheer vitality and indicates the spirit of Bach's music technique.

And as definite reasons;

a - Goldberg in 1741 or 1742 was too young ( 14 or 15 years old ) to be given this kind of difficult and advanced work.

b - The preface of published score had no indication about this episode of the Count's request. ( However it was known that Bach presented one of the first copies. )

I am going to examine these reasons and consider if the episode was only a fake.

(3) Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg @

Johann Gottlieb Goldberg's Portrait (imaginary)

Yes, I am Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg.
This should be the first time to make my portrait in public.

It was synthesized with the morphering method
using Bach's image and Gould's young image.

At first, how about the reason 'a' ?

Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg was born in 1727 in Dantzih ( now it is around the north part of Poland, Gudanisk ) and died in 1756 in Dresden at his very young age of 29 years old. Forkel called him as Goldberg of Keenisberg. So, maybe he grew up there. It was in 1731 in Dantzih when Count Keyserlingk first met Goldberg. It was when the Count was 41 years old and the boy was 10 years old and talented in music. But the Count had to stay in the Dresden Court from 1733 to 1746. So, when he visited Dantzih again in business and take the boy Goldberg with him to Dresden. Dresden was a center of contemporary music activities at that time. The boy recruited to Dresden should be on high level. After that for a while the boy had an opportunity to learn from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach the eldest child of J.S.Bach. Bach himself met Goldberg of his age of 14 years old, and even for a short time the boy became one of pupils of J.S.Bach. We can count on his ability of performing a certain level of music. But however Goldberg was a good performer, he was so young that J.S.Bach would not have dedicated a work.

At the same time, you may think this work is too difficult for a boy with 14 or 15 years old to play it. How about Glenn Gould? According to the book 'The Life of Glenn Gould' by Ottoh Frederick, Gould had gone through 'the Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 1' at his 10 years old, and at 14 years old he held a public performance with the Well-Tempered Clavier's prelude and fuge B flat minor, Partita No.2 etc.. Furthermore, at 20 he tried Schoenberg's or Anton von Webern's works.

Goldberg was known as a composer as well as a clavierist. There is a work which had been formerly thought to be composed by J.S.Bach. That is ' Sonata for two Violins and an Accompanying Bass C Major BWV1037/Anh.187 '. Anh.187, named by the Bach Society, indicates the possibility that it belongs to another composer than J.S.Bach. But anyway it is a remarkably good tune. It is said that it belongs to Goldberg, then he was one of the well-known musicians at that time. Forkel commented that Goldberg was a well-trained clavierist without much gifted composing skill. It might be severe for Goldberg to be compared with the Bach family.


What does the name of this work mean ? 'The Goldberg Variations' is a popular name which was put some years after the publication of it. The genuine name is 'Clavier-Ubung bestehend in einer Aria mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen. Denen Liebhabern zur Gemuths-Ergetzung verfertiget von Johann Sebastian Bach, Konigl, Pohl. und Churfl. Saechs. Hof-Compositeur, Capellmeister u. Directore Chori Musici in Leipzig. Nurnberg in Verlegung Balthasar Schmids'.

In English, 'Keyboard practice or clavier etude consisting of an Aria with different variations for the cembalo with two manuals. Prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers by the Court Composer for the king of Poland and Selected Governor of Saechs, Director of Music in Leipzig von Johann Sebastian Bach. Published by Verlegung Balthasar Schmids in Nurnberg'.

And it was published as 'Keyboard practice or clavier etude Volume 4'. This work was for keyboard practice at Bach's era. Somehow difficult to play but not for a supernatural technique presentation. So I think that Goldberg played well while he was young.

There is a book 'the Small Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach ( the Memory of J.S.Bach )' which is imagined to be written by Anna Magdalena Bach by herself. ( Actually it is a completely fictional and written by Ester Menel in the early year of 20th century. ) Anyway it is interesting, so I quote some parts concerning about Goldberg.

Johann Sebastian had so many pupils that I could not name all of them. There were gifted ones with superior educational results. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg was among them as a talented and good clavierist. He afterward served in the residence of Count Keyserlingk and Sebastian composed 'an Aria with 30 Variations' for him. This work was for the cembalo with two manuals, and we usually called it 'the Goldberg Variations'. ......
(in other part)
Count recommended Goldberg to be one of Sebastian's pupils. He became an outstanding performer. Because he studied clavier day and night and progressed a lot with rhythmical mastery and perfect fingering. 'An Aria with 30 Variations' which Sebastian wrote for him was the work which could indicate the evidence of technical mastery and which required so high skill that only a few could have played.
Count Keyserlingk, Forkel pointed out, loved this work very much and called it 'My Variations'. Why wasn't it named as 'the Keyserlingk Variations'? Instead, why was it named after Goldberg? It may be because Goldberg's performance was truly good and reputed widely.

A recent material (in the comment by Mr. S. Narumi for a CD of the Goldberg Variations by Andrei Gavrilov recorded on piano in 1992) said a possibility like 'Bach rewrote a set of variations which consisted of rather easy variations and dedicated it to Count Keyserlingk. And so that Goldberg could play it well. Then official Keyboard practice or clavier etude Volume 4 was the version of enlargements or revisions.' But I think that it is not more than an assumption, and I don't understand how to select which variation is easy or difficult.

(4) Reichsgraf von Hermann Carl Keyserlingk @

Reichsgraf von Hermann Carl Keyserlingk
Yes, I am von Keyserlingk.

Those variations belonged to me.

Before study about the reason b, I would like to investigate as far as possible who and what was Count Keyserlingk.

Count Keyserlingk was born in 1696 in Kualand, the northern part of Poland which was near from Present Litoania, and died in 1764 in Warsow. In 1764 Forkel was 15 years old, so they would not have met each other. From 1733 to 1746 he was in Dresden and from 1746 in Berlin as the Russian Ambassador.

J.S.Bach went to the Dresden Court in 1741, and visited the residence of Count Keyserlingk who assisted Bach to get the title of the Court Composer. Even more Count arranged successfully a royal meeting of Bach with King Friedrich. Bach treated this kind of support indispensable.

In 'the Small Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (the Memory of J.S.Bach)' there is a story like following;

Count Keyserlingk was an enthusiast toward music and a man of intellect. He became to be one of the eager worshipers for Sebastian, and frequently dropped to our house in Dresden to meet him and listen to his music. . . . . .
. . . This tune was composed for Goldberg upon special request from the Count. It was played by Goldberg in order to comfort his master at some his sleepless nights. The Count was never tired with this tune. Then the Count gifted to Sebastian a beautiful goblet with 100 louis gold coins. It was wonderful. We were very happy with it.
I think that the style of the tune, 'variations', which Sebastian carefully and sincerely picked out, is truly suitable against insomnia.

The reason why Bach did not mention at all about the request from Count Keyserlingk was that in those days the dedications were not common to an ambassador of from a foreign country even between close friends. J.S.Bach might have dedicated it to the royal family to whom Bach served as the Court Composer at that time. Additionally this work was for practice.

The record of dedications towards someone revealed the fact that there were only a few dedications.

    - Caprichio B flat minor BWV992
      for Bach's beloved brother at his departure to Sweden
    - Brandenburg Concerto BVW1045-1051
      for Brandenburg Ruling Count C. Luidvich aiming new job
    - Clavier petit notebook for Anna Magdarena Bach
      Bach's beloved wife Anna Magdarena
    - Partita No.1 BVW825
      for Kerten Ruling Count celebrating a new born baby
    - Kirie and Gloria of Missa B minor
      Zaksen Selected Ruling Count aiming a new job
    - Musical offering BVW1079
      for King of Proizen Friedrich 2 aiming a title of Court Composer
This indicates that Bach's dedication of his work to someone is anyhow exceptional. In this work Bach wrote a comment like 'Prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers'. He did not intend to mention anything about the request from anyone. As a conclusion, the reason b (The preface of published score had no indication about this episode of the Count's request.) is not the proof that the episode (One day the Count asked Bach to compose a clavier work for him which would be cheerful and could enlighten up his mind. Bach accepted the Count's request) might be a fake. I mean the episode is valid to a certain extent.

We have been through with Forkel, Goldberg, Count Keyserlingk and Bach. Now we know, 'The fact that Goldberg was too young, or there was no indication of dedication, has nothing to do with the validity of the Count's request to Bach to compose this work.' In spite of Gould's denial and critics' negative comments, the episode has a reality.

Prof. M. Isoyama wrote the comment for Karl Richiter's CD of the Goldberg Variations in 1972, ' I was really surprised at the wide variety of his interpretation and a fresh vividness of performance. After listening to Goldberg's cembalo, Count Keyserlingk would have relieved from the stress and fallen into peaceful sleep. The power of healing or relieving of this work even now would work for us.'

Even though Prof. Isoyama seemed to be affirmative to the relationship between sleep and this work, he would not have agreed that we felt asleep just while listening to the Goldberg Variations. But I want to insist that 'after listening' was false. It should have been 'while listening'. I don't want to say that this work will make us sleepy, instead, it has the power of healing insomnia, and it is the Music of Intellect with which we can cope with the disease of intellect - insomnia.

(5) Insomnia @

What kind of insomnia was Count Keyserlingk suffered from ? Now we can't say anything about it. According to one encyclopedia, insomnia is defined as ' By which one can not sleep, especially habitually and chronically. There are an insomnia by physical diseases like alcoholism or hypertension, and another insomnia by mental diseases. Most of them are from nervous breakdown. In latter case patients can only sleep shallow with a lot of dreams and before dawn fall into deeper sleep.'

Another encyclopedia tells us, ' There are people with insomnia without specific reasons. There are people who can not sleep even after the removal of mal causes. There are people who are thought by others to be sleeping well but claim that they themselves don't sleep at all. In this case, even though the hindrances are only limited, many of them claim definitely their insomnias. To be over conscious about sleep makes sleep itself difficult, which is the characteristic. They have slept well but they don't think so. When they get up, they are not satisfied with their own sleep and feel powerless, so they think they haven't slept at all.'

Now we know that Insomnia is complicated.
Count Keyserlingk tried to heal his own insomnia by Bach's music. In that sense, I suppose he was not suffered from alcoholism but from the mental stress accumulation as an ambassador.

What kind of work was Count Keyserlingk doing as a Russian Ambassador in the year around 1742 ?

During the war Prussia began its rise to power under the Hohenzollern family. Frederick William I created a military state. Frederick's father insisted on a practical, military education for his son. The boy preferred music, art, and literature. He rebelled against tobacco, drinking, and hunting, which his father believed were natural pleasures of royalty. The king forbade the prince's tutors to teach him Latin, but he studied it and the classics in secret. When Frederick was 18 years old, he tried to escape the tyranny of his father by running away. Caught before he crossed the border, he was locked in solitary confinement for a time. From a window of his cell he was forced to watch the execution of his closest friend, who had accompanied him in his flight. After this incident young Frederick was changed. He became ruthless, crafty, and cynical. He now began training to succeed his father.

In 1740, His son became to be the king of Prussia as Frederick II the Great. Immediately after he had become king, Frederick acted on his own advice: "Take what you can; you are never wrong unless you are obliged to give it back." He made Prussia a leading power of Europe. After he seized Silesia from Austria in the Seven Years' War, from 1756 to 1763, he annexed part of Poland.

In his few leisure hours he wrote poetry and history. Once he invited the French philosopher Voltaire to his Potsdam palace of Sans Souci. The two soon quarreled, however.

During the first half of his rule Frederick truly made war the "national industry" of his country. His aggressive campaigns transformed Prussia from a minor state into a major power and nearly doubled the country's size by conquest and by diplomacy. Once he had satisfied his territorial ambitions Frederick undertook great public works and encouraged education, industry, and immigration. He established the Berlin Science Academy, and admitted the religious liberty of people. But actually he did not believe human being at all. Frederick the Great died in 1786 as the last great absolute monarch in Western Europe.

Count Keyserlingk was stayed in the Dresden Court as Russian Ambassador from 1733 to 1746, and from 1746 he stayed in Berlin. It means that he had to work hard as Ambassador under the sever diplomatic circumstances at the time when Frederick II the Great started invasion to the present territory of Poland. Frederick II the Great was said to be a lover of music and a respectable king, but his reign seemed to be another one in other words he had another face in diplomacy. So Count Keyserlingk had, I imagine, a great stress continuously and had many sleepless nights.

How about Russia, the country of Count Keyserlingk in those years ?
Until 1740 there was a reign of terror in Russia.
Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, made the army arrest Ivan 6th and his regent ( his mother ) with helps from France and Sweden and declared herself empress in 1741. She made many domestic reforms. But afterwards she was against Sweden and Russia captured the east-south part of Finland in 1743.

The future Catherine, Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike of Anhalt-Zerbst, was born at Stettin in the Prussian province of Pomerania ( now Szczecin, Poland ) on May 2, 1729. Early in 1744, when she was almost 15, Sophie was presented to Empress Elizabeth of Russia, who was seeking a wife for her 16-year-old nephew, the Grand Duke Peter, heir to the Russian throne.

Sophie was received into the Russian Orthodox church and rechristened Catherine (Russian, Ekaterina). Peter and Catherine were married in 1745. Peter was an immature, sickly youth who played with toy soldiers, and Catherine was bored and unhappy.

Empress Elizabeth died in December 1761, and Peter became Czar Peter III. His childish behavior and his preference for German ways soon made him unpopular. By accepting Russian customs as her own, Catherine had gained many supporters. At the end of June 1762, the army arrested Peter, and Catherine was declared empress. Peter soon died in a scuffle with his guards.

For years Catherine had studied the works of French Enlightenment thinkers like Charles de Montesquieu, Denis Diderot, and Voltaire. Her championship of Western culture led to the flourishing of scholarship, book publishing, journalism, architecture, and the theater. Catherine herself wrote articles and plays. She sponsored the first school for girls in Russia and established a system of elementary schools. After the French Revolution, however, she became critical of liberal attitudes.

In relationship between German ( Prussia ) and Russia, there was a confrontation about the inheritance of Australian Emperor from 1740 to 1748. The duty of the ambassador was surely heavy. Under these diplomatically difficult circumtances the Count rather preferred "a tune with a soft and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up with it" than so-to-speak "serious one".

As the remedy for insomnia, at that time there were mental one, hypnosis, and autonomy. For insomnia by stress, listening to music before sleep and light physical exercise are effective. Anyway what a nice idea is to heal insomnia by enjoying Bach's tailor-made music in the 18th century, more than 250 years ago.

(6) G Major @

The Goldberg Variations as a whole can be said as G major. Exceptionally the 15th , 21st and 25th are G minor. Why did J.S.Bach choose G key for the Goldberg Variations ? Is there any specific objective ? Let's search G major clavier works by Bach.
- The Well Tempered Clavier Vol.1 and Vol. 2 No. 9 Prelude and Fuge.
Needless to say, the Well Tempered Clavier contains every key tune.
Vol.1 No.15 ( BWV 860 ) has a cheerful prelude and a happy dance fuge.
Vol.2 No.15 ( BWV 884 ) has a light and rhythmical prelude and a fuge with light arpeggio.
- The French Suite No.5 G major ( BWV816 )
Among 6 French Suites, this No.5 is said to be the brightest one.
- The Partita No.5 G major ( BWV829 )
This is also thought to be light and lively.
G major for J.S.Bach seems to be for the words 'light', 'lively', Cheerful' and 'happy'. And then the Goldberg Variations must be the same, as "a tune with a soft and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up with it".

(7) Variations @

According to Forkel's "J.S.Bach's life, art, and artworks", Bach chose variations upon Count Keyserlingk's request as soon as possible because he thought that the playtime could be freely managed with continuity in spite of the total length of the work and that anyway the form of variations was best fit.
Why should the playtime be long ? Or, why the form of variations was best fit ?

( reason 1 )

If the playtime is too short, the performance will come to the end before the sleep comes and after that a dreadful silence of the night will attack again. Gould's 1955 edition runs only 37 minutes. If one can sleep in these 37 minutes, he or she is never annoyed of insomnia. Before Gould came out, it had been common to play with repeats and more slowly, I suppose.
Playing Time

Referred with the score and its comments edited by Ralph Kirkpatrick in 1934, I assumed that it took 81 minutes to play the whole work by his tempo. It means one hour and 21 minutes. Ralph Kirkpatrick's tempo was not so slow but was of speed with tension. Yerk Demus, Daniel Barenboim, Karl Richter, all of them spent around 80 minutes. If you need more than one hour to fall into sleep every night, you may have insomnia. But if you could sleep by hearing the Goldberg Variations with playtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes, it works as a healer for insomnia.

" Play for me some of my variations." said Count Keyserlingk to Goldberg. So, only some parts had been played by Goldberg depending on Count's mood. When Count could not sleep in short time, Goldberg could play more. There was no dreadful silence of sleepless night.

( reason 2)
We do not know why J.S.Bach did not like very much the form of variations except that of counterpoints. There were only a few works of variations by Bach. Some said that Bach did not like variations because variations were on the same basic chords and it was not interesting to compose such a somehow boring ones.
The theme of variations needs two things. One is melody. The other is the structure of chords.

The theme of the Goldberg Variations is the Aria which is the Saraband of 'the Music Notebook for Anna Magdarena'. The first wife of J.S.Bach, Maria Barbara died in 1720, and four children were left. He grieved by missing his wife for a long while. But he encountered Anna Magdarena and got married again. She became a wonderful wife who supported Sebastian and their family very well and happily. She also had a sufficient musical talent as a soprano singer of the Court. Bach presented a musical notebook with clavier works for his beloved wife Anna in 1722 and in 1725. The Aria or saraband in that notebook of 1725 which was to be the theme of the Goldberg Variations was basically simple and calm with a lovely and heartfully decorated melody. The Aria alone can be a famous tune among the whole Bach's works. The musical notebook was beautifully covered with the book's name carved. At first Bach wrote two Partitas in the notebook, after that Anna added one by one. So, the Aria was added by Anna after the year 1725. Long after 1725.

The structure of the saraband as theme, Gould said, " was with an inevitable assurance and was all the time steady and reliable for being made on the noble groundbass ". These expressions might have been talking about Anna Magdarena herself.

midi: groundbass
The Aria is wonderful as a melody and for a chord structure. But as melody, all the variations forgot the theme completely. Only the sequence of grand bass is kept in mind in every variation.

When Gould talked about the harmony unified by the sixth sense, this sixth sense could be described by the harmonic structure of this Aria. And this unified harmony has the power of mind stablizer or healer of insomnia, so Bach thought. The Aria like a mother or a beloved wife will hold us with rich breasts, and our minds can wonder around freely and sometimes actively. At the same time we feel secure because we know we go back to the Aria as time passing. If we need a time for sleep, it is a rich time, not a lonely, meaningless time to fight with insomnia.

Music emerges and vanishes away as time goes by when you are awakened. On the contrary, when you fall into sleep or you are sleeping, time moves in different way. Time goes backward. Time accumulates its own fragments. In case of the Goldberg Variations the Aria and variations can freely and affluently overlaps each other. The music from our ears and the music in our hearts may change place each other and may coordinate each other. So, the variations which have the same chord base rather than the melody base are suitable for this try.

(8) Have a fruitful sleep ! @

Enthusiasts, Glenn Gould and us, may unconsciously have excluded the thought 'This work was for sleep' as unhonest one, because it is so wonderful and exciting. It is understandable. I don't intend to blame these enthusiasts at all. Instead, these feelings have given us the new pleasure as the Music of Intellect from the Goldberg Variations.

Even so, why don't you listen to the version which I simulated Goldberg's performance for Count Keyserlingk at that time at his residence -goldslep.mid- or -goldslep.mp3- . All the repeats are AABB. The tempo was set following our mental rhythm. The dynamics were determined based on the relationship of the density of notes. As the result, I got a very much different version from the Goldberg Variations configured as the Music of Intellect. Which do you like more ? It depends on you. Anyway it can be the version with " such a soft and somewhat lively character that we might be a little cheered up with the tune played by J.G.Goldberg on cembalo in the adjacent room in our sleepless nights ". You can simulate as much as you like. You may be able to experience a fruitful sleep by your Goldberg Variations.@

To be continued to the Second Part

PART 2 @

Bach's expectations and Glenn Gould's recollections @

(This is a fiction.)

Now we are going to listen to the virtual dialogue between Bach and Gould in the theme of the Goldberg Variations referring the structure of its canons. As a whole, this dialogue is a function based on the historical facts. So you may enjoy it.

J. S. BachGlenn Gould

Welcome! Feel at home!

Now, it's

canone all' Unisono

J. S. Bach's expectations (Feb 1742)
"I have been thinking about making a new set of variations with some considerable size and volume. By now, I could not devote myself into the world of variations, while making every other kind of music which now I can imagine. But, I became to have an anticipation that the next set of variations will be one of the most important works of mine, by the performance of a clavierist who has something to do with initials of G."
"Then I made up my mind to use a theme which has a starting note of G. And the theme suitable for this aspect has come up. It is a Sarabande which my wife Anna Magdalena wrote down on her musical notebook. Its starting notes are G3 and G5."
"After a while, when Count Von Keyserlingk happened to visit my house in Leipzig, he asked me to compose a kind of music which can soothe his insomnia. One of the Count's sons was studying at the Leipzig University, and the Count came here several times in these two years. For healing his insomnia, variations might have so-so force against it. I decided to finish these variations under development at that time, and after that to present it to the Count. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg has been an eligible young harpsichordist these days. And he is a musician exclusively belonging to the Count. Any way, Goldberg performs that work, and my expectations will be accomplished."
"Later, I had a chance to hear the rumor that Goldberg was doing excellent performance of that set of variations not only at the waiting room next to the bedroom for the Count's sleep assistance but also in front of the audience of the Count's intimate friends for enjoyment. It was said that the Count called it as 'my variations', but the world became to call it as 'the Goldberg Variations'. Anyway I would allow that that work might be called as the 'G's Variations' or 'the Goldberg Variations' in the future.
"And in near future, I imagine that a new talent with the name of initials G. or G.G. will appear on the earth to give the world the peace by that set of variations. Then it will be O.K. that it will be called after the name of this new talent."
"Well, by the way, in that canone all' Unisuono, the canone leader overlaps the follower. The feeling is meant to be light and easy and it will lead to the world of peacefulness. Usually to pile oneself on oneself by a certain time span may be gloomy, so here I am going to light up one's heart." @

Glenn Gould's recollections (February, 1982)
"Nobody Knows the reason why I chose the Goldberg Variations as the work for my recording debut. I have never told anything about it. The reason was too simple for me to explain it by pretending to be thoughtful. I should have been ashamed of saying it an enigma or a secret. Apart from superficial aspects, it has so profound meanings, like the way the Art of Fuge has principle four notes (B A C H) at the end of its unfinished work."
"I have been supposed be a very much talkative person for everyone. Actually I am too conscious to talk about essential matters. All I talked are all genuine, at the same time many things have not been told."
"More than thirty years ago, at the moment I saw the score of the Goldberg Variations for the first time for me, I screamed in my mind 'Oh! This is My Variations.' right away. Surprisingly my initials were caved on the first two notes and the last two. Not only starting two notes but also ending two notes are G and G. I thought that J. S. Bach had prepared this kind of work especially for me, only for me. It was more than two hundred years before. The way it starts and lasts with the notes G and G should be related with an unknown secrets."
"But according to the documents, the title 'Goldberg' was from a name. John Godlieb Goldberg was one of the private students of J. S. Bach, and this work was named after him as a popular name."
"I felt a moving sense of rivalry toward Goldberg although he was only a historical existence, nothing more. On the contrary I could not ignore something similar which lies between me and him. Goldberg seemed to be born in Gudanisk, the northern part of Poland, I was raised in Toronto, the northern part of Canada. Those places may have some resemblance. He moved to Dresden the center of musical activities at that time, to be a musician. I did my debut in New York. Accidentally facial looks might be nearly the same. Unfortunately his portrait was never found, so it is impossible to identify this fact. As far as I know, he died in his 20s. His name has two Gs in initials. His initials are J.G.G. and mine is G.G. Actually I have ignored my middle name. But it is not the point. My name is Glenn Gould. So G.G. are my initials. Based on these two initials, I should be the due performer for the Goldberg Variations. He was only Jr.G.G. Anyway I am going to make this matter concealed. Ah! if Goldberg was not a name of a person but indicated a gold mine, I could have fully felt satisfied with the history of this work because of its musical richness."
"I wrote 'If this work made a hit as a lullaby, it is very much suspicious that 'Maestro' Goldberg performed faithfully this sensational and bitter work.' That is somehow exaggerated, but is what I thought about during my first recording. The sense of rivalry towards Goldberg was so strong. What can I do to be a due performer of this work? This question lead me to the realm of performing artists." @

canone all' Unisono

Canone alla Secunda

J. S. Bach's expectations
"My works were seldom put the name after any individuals. Specially, the publishing of 'the Goldberg' was named by myself as 'Keyboard practice or clavier etude consisting of an Aria with different variations for the harpsichord with two manuals. Prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers by the Court Composer for the king of Poland and Selected Governor of Saechs, Director of Music in Leipzig von Johann Sebastian Bach. Published by Verlegung Balthasar Schmids in Nurnberg'. But it is too long as a name of a clavier work and it is hard to remember the name. So many people are used to call it 'the Goldberg Variations' nowadays.
Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg is a very good performer. However only a few people including von Hermann Carl Keyserlingk can listen to his live performance. It is not sufficient for me to obtain this kind of reputation. I didn't dedicate it to Count Keyserlingk personally. Only I gave the first copy as a present. So, more people should look at the score and hear this music. So, I published this score as 'Etudes'. In the meanwhile the second G or G. G. will appear.
"Well, in that 'Canone alla Secunda', a melody, which follows the first one with one bar after, is two whole steps above the original melody. The overlap of melodies will give us a feeling of falling down and down continuously. But not into the dark deep water, but into the bright outer space. So to speak, in musical space, we are going to experience the zero gravity." @

Glenn Gould's recollections
"I formally said, 'To tell the truth, I don't want to listen to the Goldberg more frequently than any other music. Maybe the Goldberg is not a work which I love to listen to. I feel like having obligation to hear it.' In other word, this is 'My Variations', it is not a music which I hear, it is a music which I should play for someone. When the recording was completed, I felt it best. But after being on sale, I felt sense of incongruity when I heard my performance on record. About things like this, I have never told to anyone."
In fact the sense of 'My Variations' was too strong so that there lacked the element of healing. Of course I could knock down Mr. Gottlieb Goldberg completely. I only enjoyed beating him, so the effort was not sufficient for making this work into 'My Variations'. The sales record was wonderful, but it had this kind of fault, so nobody proposed to call this work as 'the Glenn Gould Variations'. Bach did not named it 'the Goldberg Variations' by himself, so I suppose, he would not have any objection on the rename to "the Glenn Gould Variations". Anyway, I myself cannot claim about it. @
Canone alla Secunda

Canone alla Terza

J. S. Bach's expectations
"I have never experienced insomnia. On the contrary, many times I had to do my work, composition or copy of scores, all through the night without sleep. This might cause the weakness of the eyes. But almost always Anna Magdarena helped me, so this kind of night work was not so bad. And when an inspiration comes out on my mind at night, I don't want to sleep and sit in front of the keyboard or table to write down scores. While I was playing the clavier at midnight, Anna Magdalena came out of bed, sat beside me and listened to me silently. And soon she fell asleep in the sofa. I almost always sleep well. I have seldom struggled in bed to fall into sleep. Of course some problems concerning my family or work affected me some times not to sleep soon. But those problems were solved then I could sleep well."
"I talked with Count Keyserlingk and realized his insomnia was serious. Of course the Count told nothing concrete about diplomacy, his profession. According to the letter from my old friend Geork Herdmann, Russian diplomat, the political situation in Russia seems to be now critical and changing. Even in Saxen struggle behind-scean might be mind-consuming. As an ambassador, he took the great responsibility night and day, so it is not understandable for him to suffer from insomnia."
"That work was not for the measure counter insomnia from the beginning of composition. But accepting the Count's request, I realized that that Aria as theme was suitable and that the form of variations might be effective. So I continued composing and completed it. Then I presented it to my dear Count."
"The variations which I imagined was not the variations of a theme melody but the variations based on the structure of chord as a theme. I have already made many works of variations which used the change of melody, so I needed different approach. Variations on the common base ground should have basic stability, and each variation should know the way to go back home. It is as though an infant is freely dreaming while hearing the sound of mother's heart beat. This is different from the characteristic of the ordinary variations which will diffuse away with a form of spiral. So, it is most suitable for the Count to listen to my new variations for healing his insomnia."
"Well, in that Canone alla Terza , the melody following one bar after, which is contrary from Canone all' Seconda, has the same form but three steps lower. The image of the tune creates a feeling like flying up and away on the warm wind, which is contrary to the Seconda. This type of canone following the same direction with a few steps difference can make various movements towards infinite directions by overlapping melodies. I intended non-gravity by Canone all' Seconda and free flying by this Canone alla Terza."

Glenn Gould's recollections
"I myself have been suffering from insomnia. But that is not all. There are over-sensitiveness or over-intension towards cleanness which affected me a lot. So I use many kinds of pills. Even in summer I wear a coat and a muffler. Many people might think I am strange. I don't care too much about those things like what people think. My worrying trouble is in another place. It is 'the limit'. "
"When I encountered the Goldberg for the first time, I thought that I could understand it as 'My Variations' completely and as a whole. And after that, at my age of 20 or so, I thought I could see everything of piano music entirely. Seeing as a whole is just knowing the limit over which there should exist nothing. The fear of knowing the limit haunted around me. I could play any complicated piece of music without preparation, I mean, to look at the score for the first time made me possible to play it. That is terrible. This kind of playing technique may be thought at high level, but it means that I am an automatic piano playing machine which has all the knowhow concerning piano music performing art. By inputting musical scores into me, then I reproduce the sound correctly. That is all. At the same time, I felt that there was no way to new classic music composition. Because I saw everything already about the music world with limited horizon. There was no need for me to create a new work. So, I decided to concentrate for a while, on the piano performance itself."
"Enduring the pitiful situations of touring concerts at many places, I was continuously thinking about the Goldberg and about the defects of my performance. After 5 years from the first recording of the Goldberg, and when I stated using the rhythm system of playing, I became to understand that it did not have enough 'Elements of Healing'. The rhythmic system itself can be applied in every tune. Especially the Goldberg might be the most remarkable material for this rhythmic system. But at that time, I could not decide to re-record the Goldberg. It was not because the recording company or management could have objected from the marketing view point, but because I thought that the time had no been matured yet."@
Canone alla Terza

Canone alla Quarta

J. S. Bach's expectations
"It is sure that I presented the first copy of the score of the Goldberg as a counter measure against his insomnia. But that work, the Goldberg, has an ambivalence. One side is for a counter measure against insomnia. Another side is for a challenge towards creation of wide range of variety based on one basic chord theme. If a measure against insomnia is the element of 'healing', another element can be said as the element of 'challenge towards intellect'. The true meaning of that work is the fusion of 'sleep' and 'awakening'. Each element intends to give a listener some stability through music. On that base, a listener can freely do sleeping or challenge towards intellect. Not merely diffusing somewhere unknown, the music of that work seeks ease or comfort which is stabilized and free as a nature on the beautiful ground."
"Someday in future, will somebody recognize these thongs? My pupil, Goldberg, now can play that work somehow properly handling two aspects of it for I instructed him how to deal with it. So, when the Count wants to sleep while hearing it, or when he invites people entertaining with it, Goldberg plays well and gets reputations. However Goldberg does not understand the real meaning of two aspects of it nor a mutual relationship. He is still young. At my age, he will be able to understand it."

"Well, on that Canone alla Quarta , not only does the follower begin a perfect 4th lower than the leader, but it moves each of its intervals in the opposite direction: a moto contrario. This canone with contrary motion makes notes move without stability. One moment the notes diffuse, another moment they overlap each other intimately. A listener sometimes feels this kind of instability. But, basically the structure should be on the firm ground, so there is a solid quarter note to start the third part. Even though the instability caused by the diffusion of melody affects this third part to move around one place or another. Thinking about these situations, I made the following 13th variation have the power to eliminate feeling of uneasiness with an upper melody which goes lightly.@

Glenn Gould's recollections
"I don't think my parents had any image or information concerning me and the Goldberg. My family has a root from the family tree of Grieg, a Norwegian composer. The family name 'Gould' is not so unique, and 'Glenn' is popular. G. G. has not been imaged by my parents. However, I think I have inherited the shy character of the Griegs."
"Let me talk about the occasion when I met the Goldberg for the first time. That was while Prof. Alberto Guerrero, my piano tutor at that time, was wondering about which piece of music I should practice after the Well-Tempered Clavier, and when I happened to encounter the scorebook of this work and I asked my teacher what kind of music it is. He said that it was somehow unique etudes of variations by J. S. Bach. Bach composed only a few variations. He was not so interested in it. I also was not interested in the topics related the reason of composing. But I had a complete feeling that I had understood all about the Goldberg when I touched those keys, G3 and G5."
"I heard afterwards that Alberto Guerrero often played the Goldberg on the stage. But I had never heard him play this work either in concert or on lessons. The Goldberg was, from the first encounter to it, my peculiar variations. Though, he was going to teach me this way or that way, out of points when we started lesson of the Goldberg. Then I was disappointed to him and I gave up following him."
"When I was 18 years old, I could play the Goldberg completely at the level of recording. I didn't need Gerrelo anymore. He became an obstacle for my music lesson. After getting 19 years old, I started doing everything on my own way."@
Canone alla Quarta

Canone alla Quinta

J. S. Bach's expectations
"One autumn day, I visited Dresden, the capital city of Saxen. Next day after my arrival at Dresden, I went to the mansion of Count Keyserlingk carrying the first copied score of that work. Passing through the Augustos Bridge over the Elbe River, I could find the Count's mansion some next to the minister's official residence. About one month earlier, I made J. G. Goldberg come to Leipzig with a faked assignment and then gave him a necessary lesson of that work. It might be easy for me to play it for the Count, but it would result that the Count might have been conscious about the differences of performance between mine and Goldberg's. So, I dared not to play it in front of the Count. Moreover the Count would order Goldberg to play it immediately, given the scorebook. Goldberg has the ability to play it at once. But Goldberg should perform it suitably knowing the purpose of that work, because I present it as like dedicate it to Count Keyserlingk whom I owe greatly. Anyway Count was very much pleased with my gift."
"Apart from musicbox, there is no other way to enjoy the music than going to the church, going to the concert held in Tuinmarman's Coffee Shop, going to a salon or playing ourselves. In case someone plays for you, usually you cannot select the tune on your disposal. From this point of view, the Count is exceptionally happy to listen to his most favorite music, namely that work, whenever and as many times as he wants. This will be a new method of entertainment of music."
"It will be wonderful that many people can enjoy music this way in future. A future G. G. may be able to make this come true. It will not be a dream to feel music directly from the score without any player or instruments. I have many sour experiences like when the level of performers limits the quality of music. Enthusiastic players are making progresses day by day. But I don't want be in charge of those hopeless pupils of the Divinity School as singers or members of our orchestra."

"That Canone alla Quinta is in G minor, which is different from the previous canones. And it is a moto contrario. Minor mode, for the first time in the Goldberg Variations, lends a dark and tragic aura. For me it is rare case, but I put a specification of "andante" for this variation. This canone shall be a special one as the last of the first half of that work.
The follower begin a perfect 5th higher than the leader with one bar delay, but it moves each of its intervals in the opposite direction. We cannot have comfortableness to enjoy the instability the way different from Canone alla Quarta. In the first two bars, notes are far from each other by 2 octaves, and the melodies are trying to communicate mutually overcoming the restriction of a moto contrario. But in the first 16 bars, the movements are overacting downward against upward. So in the last 16 bars, I created, by efforts, a space and time of dreaming and healing together by uniting the deepness and highness through getting over the formal structure of a moto contrario."
"Coming so far this way, I feel sincerely sorry if the Count cannot fall into sleep. If so I planed a cheerful pastime for my Count at the next 16th variation."

Glenn Gould's recollections
"I played the Goldberg more than 30 times in concert in Moscow, Berlin, etc. You may think that I did remarkably many times, but think like this, if the audience is 2000 people for one concert, 30 times mean 60,000 people. In case of record, 1 million sales mean at least 1 million people should have listened to it. If you want 1 million people attend your concert, you have to do your concerts 5 times a year during 100 years. In that sense, concerts are only pain without results. Moverover as to this work, the audience will be lead to sleep when they really don't want to doze at all. This work has this kind of special power to make people sleepy. It is a contradiction. Of course I thought that nobody would not be willing to sleep while listening my music at first. This thought has made me sick and forced me to retire from the concert stage. Then many critics started prying around the reason of my dropout from the concert. It was hard for me to continue world tours anymore physically and mentally. And I sometimes deliberately said that the concert was dead, as a message. "
"I played the Goldberg more than 30 times in concert in Moscow, Berlin, etc. You may think that I did remarkably many times, but think like this, if the audience is 2000 people for one concert, 30 times mean 60,000 people. In case of record, 1 million sales mean at least 1 million people have listened to it. If you want 1 million people attend to your concert, you have to do your concerts 5 times a year during 100 years. In that sense, concerts are only a pain without results. Moverover as to this work, the audience will be lead to sleep when they really don't want to doze at all. This work has this kind of special power to make people sleepy. It is a contradiction. Of course I thought that nobody would not be willing to sleep while listening to my music at first. This thought has made me sick and forced me to retire from the concert stage. Then many critics started prying around the reason of my dropout from the concert. It was hard for me to continue world tours anymore physically and mentally. And I sometimes deliberately said that the concert was dead, as a message. To tell the truth, the reason was that my performance of the Goldberg had changed a lot during doing many concerts. The most remarkable fact was that some of the audience fell into sleep on their seats. I could sense any of the audience who was going to sleep from the stage. The reason why people got sleep was not the lack of tension nor looseness, but better or the best performance. So to speak, it is a negative effect."
"The audience did not complain about their sleepiness because the concert was good enough. But it is unusual. And I could not tell them not sleep in front of me, or never mind if you sleep."
"I never did concert featuring the Goldberg in Dresden where J. G. Goldberg once lived. I would never do my concert in Dresden. In Berlin I did. In fact Count lived in Berlin for a while. So, Goldberg played this work many times for the Count in Berlin. There Goldberg played for one person's sleep. There I tried to play for more than 2000 people not sleep. I don't want to continue these things. "

"This Canone alla Quinta contains the supreme moments created by J. S. Bach. This moves my soul and heart profoundly. listeners will understand that this canone is one of the top masterpieces full of devotion, but they will not be aware of the fact that this variation was composed following the strict rule of 5 step differences a moto contrario. Is it a great surprise that this artificial rule of canone with 5 step differences a moto contrario could bring about such a marvelous music even by the hand of J. S. Bach?" @

Canone alla Quinta

Canone alla Marcia

J. S. Bach's expectations
"There is a reason why I published that work as a practice book. Now and at that time, this kind of music is not supposed to be performed in front of the audience or many people. I am afraid that so few people can listen to that work without being played by many people. At the same time, as I intended, that work is a music which can be played well by ordinary music lovers without too much empathy if they have a so-so technique. But in order to make the genuine meaning of that work, namely the fusion of sleep and awakeness, come true in this world, we need a musical genius. Even then, to whom will he play? Or, who can enjoy his performance?"
"Well, Canone alla Marcia is different from the previous canone, Canone alla Quinta. It is in a marching style in G Major. The following melody is running after the first one on 6 step differences above with a half bar delay and it sounds like an echo of the first melody. There is nothing complicated around here. Canone alla Marcia exhibits its own characteristics which is stable and comfortable, so the work becomes so." @

Glenn Gould's recollections
"The audio technology has developed extensively. This time I used the digital stereo recording system for recording this work to make CD. On the first occasion of recording, there was only an analog monophonic system to make LP, and no DOLBY system. These twenty five years have given me a remarkable change. From now on, I can't imagine what a great technological innovation will wait for us. However, at present I am sure I have sufficient tools for my necessity. In the year 1955, fortunately I could make the most use of the new device at that time, which enabled me to get as much takes as to make the recording perfect. In those days, this method was epoch-making. And I am very much satisfied this time with the result and the digital technology which I could apply for my recording to CD. In other words, to play the piano, to record it, and to make CD or LP have gone to the end of perfect technology. Of course, there should be more breakthroughs in future, but the basic method could not be altered any more. Another breakthrough must aim a different target."
"For example, why don't we use two voices, 3 voices or 4 voices? I mean, it might be interesting to record each voice to each channel and to playback this polyphonic music through 4 speakers arranged in four corners of our room. This could be completely different and surrealistic music from the ordinary piano performance. There, listeners should have the responsibility." @
Canone alla Marcia

Canone alla Settima

J. S. Bach's expectations
"Actual performances are indispensable of course. But without performance or without pianists how does a music exist? I played on many occasions and at many places, and I realized that any music could last after the end of performance. Sound cannot stay any longer at one place or in the world of time. Only people at that place and at that moment can exceptionally listen to the specific music. Even though they are used to forget about it. Of course my pupils can make performances, but number of pupils are limited. Moreover my music are now said to be obsolete. Mr. John Adlef Schaipe declared that my music was a Waste of Labor. I think that it doesn't matter if my music is old or not. My music is not a fashion. It is substantial. Anyway people don't care about the meaning of my music. If I publish a scorebook with a sophisticated title, they may say it out of fashion. So, I usually use ordinary titles like 'for practice'. By this way, I would like to expect that more people would be able to have chances to listen to my music. For that work, similarly I put it into the world with a title 'The fourth part of clavier practices'. Now I would like to start the trials of q moto mirror or a moto contrario, which is a manipulation of notes on the score. For the first step, I am engaged in a new canone based on the first eight bass notes from the aria."
"Well, Canone alla Settima is in G minor. As for that work, there are only two canones with G minor, Canone alla Quinta and Canone alla Settima. But Canone alla Settima is the type of a canone following the same direction. The follower goes 7 steps above. This canone is very short. It has only 8 + 8, namely 16 bars. The follower goes with a half bar delay. It is a dark and calm echo which is different from the light echo of Canone alla Marcia."@

Glenn Gould's recollections
"The performance of classic music, especially solo keyboard music, will be replaced with the performance using computer without pianists. Bach and Mozart used a clavier or a piano for their composition. They did not find those instruments meaningful to play back already existing pieces of music using them. From now on if a solo piano performance has its own meaning, there should be with a kind of composing or improvisation. It might be an exaggeration but Bach and Mozart did merely write down their own results of improvisation."
"I am not an enthusiast of the Beatles. But as an example, I would like to talk about their music. They performed many times thier works of the early days on stage. But one of their masterpieces, 'A Day In The Life' had been never played by them except on the recording session. Then, is there any meaning that someone else plays 'A Day In The Life' faithfully in a way similar to the original recording ? Wes Montgomery arranged differently and played it in his original way, then there is a meaning as another piece of music. Anyway it is not necessary to have a mere copy if there is the original. We can listen anytime to the original recording."
"As to this work, it became to be "the Glenn Gould Variations" in the year 1981, and there is nothing more for me to do for this work. In other words, the recording of the Goldberg was merely the result of a capricious recording by Glenn Gould, nothing more. Anyone can make a capricious recording of this work only by using a computer." @
Canone alla Settima

Canone alla Ottava

J. S. Bach's expectations
"I think I have to talk about my dear wife, Anna Magdalena, because she had been involved somehow in this work. She by nature had a talent of music. Actually she was a singer with splendid voice before our marriage. After she was married, she was a wonderful wife and mother for our family on our daily life. Sometimes she had chances to sing as a professional singer. But usually she is at home, practices the clavier in her spare time. She manages the household chore for me, our children and my pupils. She loves flowers and fills our garden with flowers. Especially she loves yellow pinks. The theme aria is based on a piece of Sarabande in a light green music notebook which I presented to my dear in the year 1725. That Sarabande was written down by Anna following the memo of a work which I composed a little before. Anna was very fond of it. So I modified it several times. Then the score became messy. When I said to Anna that I was going to make a work of variations for a present to Count Keyserlingk using this Sarabande as its theme and I would like to publish it afterwards, Anna decided to rewrite it on another page beautifully, and threw away the page of the original score with many modifications."
"Count Keyserlingk visited my home time after time. At one of those occasions, the Count asked Anna to play the clavier a little. Anna at first hesitated, but she fully understood the Count's kind support for me and his honorable character, so dared to play one piece of music from that music notebook which she loved the best and which was tender of heart. Now I know that it was that Sarabande."
"Well, Canone alla Ottava has a specific character that is, 8/9, the follower is after 2 bars in the same direction and 8 steps below or later 8 steps above. 8 steps means one octave and it has 2 bar delay, so there is no difficulty. But the long trill at the start of the second part calls an anxiety of an irritated heart. The seemingly bright but anxiously irritated atmosphere of Canone alla Ottava will be taken full care by the next 25th variation. " @

Glenn Gould's recollections
"The sarabande of the Aria as the theme of the Goldberg Variations is constructed on a noble grandbass, which always has a stable chord composition. The Aria solo can be called as a distinguished masterpiece. Needless to say, the Variations are a masterpiece among masterpieces. But some of the Variations have some different images. For example, the 14th variation can be said as a slipshod work, and the 25th variation is a adagio filled with melancholy and subjective expressions like a Chopin's nocturne with romantic atmosphere. On the first recording of the Goldberg, I played the 25th variation like a Chopin piano player. In other words, I deliberately decreased the dynamics and altered the temp slightly, which is showy. On the latest recording, I intended to place the dignity by agonizing and enduring which might be thought uncanny and less emotional. Moreover the 30th variation is somehow incoherent as the last variation. This 30th variation is called Quolibet which is by popular music formula, so more or less is felt misplaced. But all through the Goldberg Variations, the 30th variations is also splendid and under the whole structure of the work."
"This work, The Goldberg Variations, is thoroughly organized as a state of an absolute monarch or a baroque garden, and is full of counterpoint technique and enigma. The possibility of counterpoint method and canone/fugue makes me stand on the boundary between alchemy of Medieval time and scientific study of modern age." @
Canone alla Ottava

Canone alla Nona

J. S. Bach's expectations
"Last year (1741) was a good year when Karl Philipe Emanuelle, my son, got the job as a court cembalist of the Imperial Court of Pozudum. At the same time last year was a sad year when Tuinmamann, the owner of cafe where many times I held concerts in Leipzig. By the way, I usually made trips with my wife, Anna. But when I was going to see my son, Karl Philipe Emanuelle, in Berlin unusually without accompanying my wife, I got a news that Anna got sick suddenly. Then I quitted the scheduled journey to Berlin and came back in a hurry to my home. When I arrived at my house, she was already fine. I was too much worrying. I thought that there was some hitch for her when I went to see my son of former wife."
"Well, Canone alla Nona has only two parts. Namely there is no accompanying bass part. So, it becomes simple. For the first part, the following melody starts with one bar delay, nine steps above and in the same direction. For the later part the following melody starts nine steps below. It is a strict canone, but melodies don't overlap each other. To tell the truth, canone with nine steps difference doesn't work well as canone in terms of creation of time and space. In that work, every fourth variation was canone. For welcoming sleep, nine steps canone is enough. I can try other canones in another occasion."

Glenn Gould's recollections
"I am fifty years old this year. As I thought about and stated before, I am going to quit my career as pianist. My parents are still alive, which is different from Bach's case. They are healthier than me. Two years ago, I wrote my will, which tells that all of my property should go to charitable organizations. Actually I intended to live a life without piano until 80 years old so I didn't want to write my will. But after the second recording of the Goldberg, things have changed somehow. I feel I am losing energy from my body. This work may want me to become a martyr. If I played the Goldberg continuously without thinking anything in my younger days and dared to re-recording this work much earlier, I would have died before getting 30 years old like Johann Gottlieb Goldberg."@
Canone alla Nona


J. S. Bach's expectations
"It was a mere coincidence. When Count Keyserlingk requested me to make a piece of music which would help count for sleep well, I was doing composition with that Sarabande as the theme. It was a good luck that Count liked that Sarabande which Anna played for him. The point of Count's request was anti-insomnia, so I was going to give careful consideration in the course of the later half part composition. One thing was that it would be for sleep and played at night, so the number of variations had been set to 30 after 30 days of moon tide. Another thing was that as time passed then music would be calmer and deeper. It was done by the 25th variation. So this variation should not be played sentimentally, but it should be performed with serener and deeper repose. If it doesn't work and the spirit of sleep doesn't appear to him, it is not strategic to keep fighting through the night. For this case I prepared a such story as continuing light variations and finally giving a pastime by the Quodlibet."
"There was a certain reason why I made the 30th variation into Quodlibet, which means a random mixture. The Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony in Dresden, Count Keyserlingk, admired my music kindly for a long time. Six years ago, in the year 1736, the Count made a great effort for me to be designated as the court composer of the electoral court of Saxony. In fact, the Count himself brought me the information of designation. That year, I went to the capital of the electoral court of Saxony, Dresden, and on the 1st of December I made a memorial performance in order to express my gratitude using a newly made organ by Jilbermann, an organ manufacturer for the Saint Mary Church. Count Keyserlingk was there and later sent me a letter saying that my performance was impressive. So, I visited his mansion to thank to all the things he made for me. The Count friendly received my visit, and we talked about favorite music and about other many things. Then we became like old friends. Since then the Count stopped by my house when he had business in Leipzig. In these years, his honorable son is studying here at the Leipzig University, so the Count had frequent chances to come to this city. One day when the Count dropped at my home, the Bach's family music party had taken place. With the Count presence, my family and friends had hesitation unusually. But as time passed, usual cheerfulness came back finally. So not only serious music but also funny and popular songs in the street were played and sung. For the Count it was a peculiar experience. Among many songs, one girl ;"I've not been with you for so long. Come closer, closer, closer."
and "Beets and spinach ; "Beets and spinach drove me far away. Had my mother cooked some meat, then I'd have strayed much longer."
made him amused. So I memorized it. On thet day no one made any Quodlibets using these two songs. But many other Quodlibets had been made and enjoyed. The Count said to me later that there were lots of funny songs like Quodlibet. Then I decided to make new Quodlibet based on these two songs."
"Well, do you imagine why I didn't assign the canone with 10 steps difference in place of that Quodlibet? In terms of number, the 30th variation should have been the canone with 10 steps difference. The reason was that, as I said about the canone with 9 steps difference, the canone with 10 steps difference would not be suitable for the purpose of that work, I mean 'for sleep'. A canone with 10 steps difference can be easily obtained by modifying a canone with 3 steps difference adding one octave high or low to the following melody. But melodies cannot collaborate to make harmony. There will not be any creation of zero gravity in sound space.
Then the 30th variation was to be a Quodlibet, mixture of canone or something different. Even so the first four bars was on the canone formula. At first 8 steps difference, then 5 steps difference.
Frankly speaking the 30th variation is not a canone, but there are several tricks put together. Especially the melody 'Beets and spinach' was used 8 times in total 16 bars of the 30th variation. The original level, 5 steps above, the same level, 9 steps above, 2 steps above, 2 steps below, 3 steps above, 4 steps below. This melody doesn't show up only in 3 bars out of 16 bars.
In 7th bar and 8th bar of the first part of this variation and also of the last part, a rotatable counterpart technique was incorporated. As a whole, there are four parts of melody. Then the upper part the second lower part changes each other." @

one girlBeets and spinachmelody of itchanges each other

Glenn Gould's recollections
"'Healing' can be generated from the 30th variation. A listener or a performer can expect the Aria da Capo coming next to the Quodlibet, a very popular type of music. And listening to and playing the Quodlibet, people can feel liberation from their confined hearts like uncovering multilayered shells one by one."
"This is a great 'healing' for me. About these fifty years, I am always by the piano, and I have never been away from it. It has been a great pleasure for me to be with the piano, to play it or to be able to play it. But there has been a limit which I could never overcome. If J. S. Bach were alive now, he would compose and play splendidly whatever instruments, piano, cembalo, etc as he likes and make his own CDs. in that case, what is the meaning of the performance of Glenn Gould? This is a heavy and annoying question for me. Anyway, while playing the 30th variation, I don't know why, but I feel free from that burden."
"Actually J.S.Bach is a historical existence. What we have now are only his scores. So I intended to create an original work performed by Glenn Gould and composed by J.S.Bach. That should be the only reason of my existence, so I thought. This consciousness might make me hum unconsciously while playing. This humming was a surely Gould's original. From this point of view, many concert appearances would reduce this kind of originality. I was staying out of stages from the year 1964. I should be careful to avoid for me to be an automatic piano playing machine following programmed codes. If I were a violinist, a flutist or a singer, I would be more cheerful without annoying how to separate composer and performer."
"A musical work as an art should be proper when the score and its performance are integrated into one thing. In case of the Goldberg Variations, the condition was perfect. Because it is 'the variations composed by Bach and performed by Goldberg'. Now it should be 'the variations composed by Bach and performed by Gould'. So, it should be 'the Glenn Gould Variations'. I want people think like this way. Otherwise, 'the GouldBlend Variations' or 'the GouldBrag Variations' might be better." @

Aria Da Capo

J. S. Bach's expectations
"Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is one of the finest pupils of mine, and he can play very well. So, I don't mind that that work was named after him. But I think the name is not good for the name of a musical work. Goldberg means a gold mine. Then we call it 'the Gold Mine Variations' full of gold bars. In fact the Count gave me a cup full of gold coins as a reward of that work made for him. For my family that work is a mountain of gold namely 'the Goldberg'. Canones of that work have a secret power to develop itself more like musical alchemy. But the image of gold is not fit to that work. I am afraid that the name would affect people in future to have a wrong golden gorgeous image. I don't want people play that work too quietly because it was anti insomnia for the Count. As I put down a comment on the title of that work 'prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers', I think that the most suitable way of performing that work is to play it gently and somehow a little cheerfully. By the way how about another name? For example let's name it 'the Keyserlingk Variations' after Count Von Keyserlingk. I imagine that 'Keyserlingk' may be linked to 'Caesar' link. Then it goes to 'the Caesar-link Variations'. It is too exaggerated, isn't it? In fact there is no need to put an alias like ' the So-so variations'. If necessary, how about 'the GleitchenGold Variations'. This GleitchenGold means 'the same value as gold'. Anyway I expect that that work shall be named after a performer with his or her initials are G and G. someday in future." @

Well, the dialogue between two has come to an end. Bach anticipated and Gould expected to make "these variations" or "those variations" into "the Glenn Gould Variations". So, let's rename it.

What do you think about it?


The lenn ould Variations

(Send me your idea or thought.)

To be continued to related materials...

Reference @

List of CDs
List of Reference
History of live performances of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould

List of CDs for the Goldberg Variations
Performer ; instrument ; No. of CD ; playing time ; Comments by the performer or critics@

  1. Wanda Landowska ( harpsichord ) EMI CDH 7610082 ( 45'46" ) 1933

  2. Ralph Kirkpatrick ( harpsichord ) Music&Arts CD-976 ( 4-CD set ) ( 43:36 ) 1952 ( 1997 )
    ( Comments by mocfujita ; I did not expect to be able to listen to this performance by Ralph Kirkpatrick until October 1997. And I was surprised at the value of the performance. Many of us including me thought him as professor or researcher not as performer. He made the great works of editing scores and analyzing the music. But in my opinion Ralph Kirkpatrick was better than Wanda Landowska as harpsichord player for the Goldberg Variations. Glenn Gould did not mention this at all. I don't know why.
    However this recording was not only for the Goldberg Variations but also for all the four practices for clavier by Bach. I think that he did not have any intension to give a world-wide publication to the Goldberg Variations. Anyway this CD was made by digitizing the master tapes ( Ampex 402B ; 38 cm/sec ) of 1952 in 1996. Wows have been eliminated. Noises have been removed. It is like a newly recorded CD. As to the performance, there is no repeat, so all are A-B-. It is not a virtuoso type, but clear and beautiful.
    - The 1952 Haydn Society recording; performed on a Chickering / Dolmetsch harpsichord; Historic mono. - )

  3. Glenn Gould ( piano ) CBC PSCD2007 ( 42'30" ) 1954
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; Surprisingly there was a record of Gould's performance of the Goldberg Variations in 1954 ( before 1955 ) in the Canadian National Library. And now we can listen to it. This is the fourth publication of Gould's Goldberg. Gould did not intend to make a CD by this recording. But we can have it as a valuable asset or enjoy for entertainment.
    This performance was broadcasted from his recital one year before the shocking debut of Glenn Gould with that Goldberg Variations in 1955. Anyway the sound is good enough to enjoy it. with the present high technology.
    Is there any differences between 1954 and 1955 ( the debut ) ? Live performance was perfect without his moaning voices. There was only one repeat in the first part of the final aria. As a whole this was on the way to the next perfection. )

  4. Glenn Gould ( piano ) Sonyclassical SRCR8923 ( 38'21" ) 1955
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; This is the shocking debut record. It is even now the best selling classic record ( CD ). You can find always this CD at your neighbor CD shop. The first record jacket ( cover ) was remarkable. I would like to have the same cover once again.

  5. Glenn Gould ( piano ) Sony SRCR-9500 ( 37'07" ) 1959 ( Salzburg Live )

  6. Helmut Walcha ( harpsichord ) Angel TOCE-7232 ( 75'45" ) 1961

  7. Charles Rosen ( piano ) ( 75'50" ) 1967

  8. Wiilhelm Kempff ( piano ) Gramophone POCG-2996 ( 60'48" ) 1969

  9. Karl Richter ( cembalo ) Archif POCA2019 ( 77'26" ) 1970
    ( Comment by Richiter ; You should not give wrong impressions to listeners by changing musical incidents inside the work deliberately. Let's assume that there is a Bach's work which consists of three parts A,B and C. In order to maintain the specific Bach's structure, each part has to have its own specific character. If you put too much coloring to a part, the contrast among three parts will be fade away, and listeners can not understand by how many parts the work is constructed. But in order to describe A part as A itself and with one specific color, the performer has to have a breath which supports this effort. The breath can not be obtained in short time. It takes many years for a performer to master the tempo specific to the work. )
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; The sound is too gorgeous to sleep. )
  10. Yerk Demus ( harpsichord ) Brattz P27G527 ( 74'05" ) 1970?
    ( Comment by Demus ; Bach composed the most artistic variations for keyboard which needs the highest technique. )
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; There were a lot of tempo rubato. Velocity was set in various ways. )
  11. Gustav Leonhardt ( harpsichord ) German HarmoniaMundi BVCD5022 ( 47'23" ) 1970?

  12. Yuji Takahashi ( piano ) Denon COCO-7964 1976

  13. Tatiana Nikolayeeva ( piano ) Melodia VICC40126/7 ( 83'19" ) 1979

  14. Trevor Pinnock ( harpsichord ) Archiv POCA-2112 ( 60'47" ) 1980

  15. Christiane Jaccottet ( harpsichord ) INT INT820.539 1981

  16. Glenn Gould ( piano ) CBS sony 22DC5543 ( 51'18" ) 1981
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; It is the greatest performance of the Goldberg Variations which will live for ever. Gould passed away after giving us this performance. Look at him on the CD cover. He had an atmosphere of agony or being exhausted sitting down on a chair. But there is no sign of darkness or pain on his performance. It is the one which I would like to listen to through all my life. Thank you, Glenn Gould. )
  17. Edit Pipito Aksenfult ( harpsichord ) Kanorata 30CM-7-8 1983

  18. Kenneth Gilbert ( harpsichord ) France HarmoniaMundi KKCC-36 ( 66'49" ) 1986

  19. Anthony Newman ( harpsichord ) DUN-DIW501 ( 55'26" ) 1987

  20. Andras Schiff ( piano ) London POCL-5127 ( 72'15" ) 1987

  21. Ton Koopman ( harpsichord ) Elart WPCC4248 ( 62'23" ) 1988
    ( Comment by Koopman ; I intended not to make people sleep but to give them new surprises. )
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; I don't think there are new surprises. I don't think there is no tranquility to make us sleep. )
  22. Yuget Trefess ( harpsichord ) Denon COCO75631 ( 79'17" ) 1988

  23. Daniel Barenboim ( piano ) Elart WPCC3256/7 ( 80'35" ) 1989
    ( Comment by Barenboim ; I studied the Goldberg Variations more than 25 years. And now ( in 1989 ) I have come to the point where I can understand faintly the meaning of the interpretation . )
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; The sound is good enough as a live recording. Trills are fine. But partially it is good and 80 minutes are too long. )
  24. Keith Jarrett ( harpsichord ) ECM1395 ( 61'40" ) 1989

  25. Fussong? ( accordion )

  26. Glenn Wilson ( harpsichord ) Teldick? WPCC-4313-4 ( 41'38" ) 1990

  27. Pierre Hantai ( harpsichord ) TokyoMBrass? MOPS30-84 ( 77'27" ) 1992

  28. Andrei Gavrilov ( piano ) Gramophone POCG1708 ( 74'21" ) 1992
    ( Comment by mocfujita ; Gavrilov was born in 1955 in Moscow. At 18 years old he won the first prize of the Tchaikovsky Competition. He played all repeats, AABB. It is like in a factory. At the 15th variation he displayed his talent as the Tchaikovsky Competition winner. He might have tried to make sounds of cembalo by piano. At 25th variations he played sentimentally as being requested, but it was too long, say 11 minutes, to listen more. )

  29. Mari Kumamoto ( piano ) King KICC110 ( 53'11" ) 1993
    ( Comment by Miss Mari Kumamoto ; More than a dozen years ago, Glenn Gould said to me, ' You're the only one capable of judging your own talent and potential. You have to believe in yourself.'
    Now I think in retrospect that perhaps I owe my career as a pianist to his words of encouragement.
    I believe that in this recording I have succeeded in translating 28 years of my history into music, in all honesty and the best of my ability. )
  30. Takahiro Sonoda ( piano ) HV-Evica HTCA-1010 ( 75'45" ) 1994

  31. Konstantin Lifschitz ( piano ) COCO-78961 ( 79'02" ) 1994

  32. Peter Zelkin ( piano ) BMC BVCC-724 ( 47'03" ) 1995

  33. Sitobetuki? ( arranged into string ensemble ) Warner WPCS 5004 ( 59'55" ) 199?

  34. Christophe Rousset ( harpsichord ) Polidor POCL1619 ( ??'??" ) 199?

( the list of some performances )

List of References @

  1. The Score J.S.Bach the Goldberg Variations
    edited and annotated by Ralph Kirkpatrick ( 1934 )

  2. Glenn Gould Writings Vol.1 and Vol.2
    edited by Tim Page? ( 1990 )
    The thesis by Gould about the Goldberg Variations is interesting and important. This was for the annotation of his own LP of 1955. And one about the art of fuge tells us his strong devotion to the method of counterpoint.
    by Otto Friedrich 1989
    Gould expressed his thought about both two versions of 1955 and 1981.
  4. J.S.Bach's Clavier Works
    written by Hermann Kellar?

  5. Tuning of cembalo - Revive the sonido of Bach -
    written by Helbert Antre Kernar? ( 1990 )

  6. Seminar of Sound Technology No.3 Architectural Sound
    written by I. Nagata ( 1988 )

  7. The Great Study about Glenn Gould
    edited in Japan
    Talk about Bach 2 - About new recording
    There is a dialog between Glenn Gould and Tim Page?. It is very interesting.
  8. The small chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
    (Die kleine Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach )
    It is fun to read it. But nobody has referred it as a genuine record about J.S.Bach. I have wondered if it was a fiction or not. The fact was that someone with a name of Ester Menel(?) wrote it without any comment which told it was a fiction in early 20th century. However, it has a lot of reality because the story was based on the content of the Study of Bach written by Prof. Shupita(?).
    Many people think even now that it was written by Anna Magdalena by herself. It is interesting enough to read as a fiction. So it should be clearly stated that it was written by someone not Anna.
    In 1967, a movie was made based on this book by Jan Mari Strauv? as the small chronicle of Anna Magdalena. I haven't seen it yet.
  9. Klavierbuchlein fur Anna Magdalena Bach
    Barenreiter-Verlag Kassel ( 1959 )
    The Musical Notebook reproduced as original. The cover is very pretty with a light green color and in-printed Anna's name and 1725. It must be one of the most valuable presents from a husband to his wife in the world. And in it there is the Aria for the Goldberg Variations as No.26.

  10. The Life of Bach by graphics and testimonies
    written and edited by Michael Kolt? and Shutephan Koolmann? ( 1990 )

  11. The Bach Encyclopedia in Japanese
    edited by Prof. Ichiro Sumikura ( 1993 )

  12. The Glenn Gould Variations
    edited by John Maglievie? ( 1986 )
    The editor had no intension to alter the name of the Goldberg Variations.
  13. The Great Composer Bach
    written by Martin Geck? ( 1955 )

  14. Glenn Gould / The Goldberg Variations ( 1981 )
    Glenn Gould Collections Sony SRVM1103 ( Video )
    The Video record of the whole performance of the Goldberg Variations in 1981
  15. The Dialog with Glenn Gould
    written by Johnasan Kont? ( 1990 )
    The record of telephone conversations of 6 hours in 1974
  16. On the Record Off the Record - Young Gould - ( 1959 )
    Philips ( 1989 ) Video
    As a fan of Glenn Gould it must be seen.
    How did he select a certain piano for his recording ? How did he spend his days at his home in Toronto and practise his piano ? Interviews. How did he do his recording in the Colombia Studio ? An example was the Italian Concerto by Bach.
  17. Fuge
    written by Marsel Bich? and Jann Bonfis? ( 1981 ) in France?
    There is a complete explanation about counterpoints and canons.
  18. The Tecnique of Using Piano Pedals?
    written by Jossef Panovitz? ( 1989 )
    It has very useful information about how to make the computer play piano music. Pedaling has a profound meaning in resonance.
    Edited and compiled by John P.L.Roberts and Ghyslaine Guertin
    Oxford University Press 1992
    Among the letters of Glenn Gould there was one which was to Miss Kimiko Nakayama of Dusseldorf, Germany ( November 12,1972 ). I don't know if she is Japanese or not. Anyway I am envious of it.
    " Dear Miss Kimiko Nakayama
    Thank you very much for your letter of September 26, which was forwarded to me, and particularly for your very kind and interesting comments...........
    and I do believe that this instrumental indifference plays an important part in helping us to achieve sufficient freedom so as to articulate our perhaps quite specialized views of his music without embarrassment..........."
    written by Peter Williams
    CAMBRIDGE MUSIC HANDBOOKS, Cambridge University Press 2001, 112 pages

    Professor Williams wrote on the 95th page of his book,
    "In public, Schumann and his wife were more likely to play piano transcriptions of chorales than anything in Clavierrubung, which he seems to have regarded as 'exercises' or etude in the usual sense at the time, perhaps misled by the title."
    I suposse, "If Robert Schumann had found out the meaning of the Goldberg Variations as 'a healing power', he would not have been in such a great agony as he was suffered from his mental disease in his later years."

    Anyway, "In the course of the book he poses a number of key questions. Why should such a work be written? Dose the work have both a conceptual and a perceptual shape? .....", which is from the back page comment. I also want to get the answer.

Concert Lives of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould @

22 years old*1955.03.14Ottawa
23 years old11.07Montreal
05.16Saint Petersburg
24 years old11.11Toronto
12.07New York
25 years old11.15Florence
08.25SalzburgWe have a live CD from Salzburg.
26 years old10.12Annarbor
11.01San Francisco
27 years old*1961.04.25Los Angelesthe last live performance of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould
32 years old*1964.03.28Chicago the last live performance by Glenn Gould not for the Goldberg Variations
*** data from : The life of Glenn Gould by Otto Friedrich ***

S O U N D - C O L L A G E


M.K.= Mari Kumamoto
R.K.= Ralph Kirkpatrick
W.R.= Wanda Landowska
G.G.55 = Glenn Gould 1955
G.G.81 = Glenn Gould 1981

Answer ; Select one from a to e :

a----M.K. +R.K. +W.R. +M.K. +G.G.55 +W.R. +M.K. +G.G81
b----G.G.55 +W.R. +R.K. +M.K. +G.G.81 +R.K. +G.G.81 +M.K.
c----R.K. +W.R. +R.K. +M.K. +G.G.55 +R.K. +M.K. +G.G.81
d----G.G.81 +W.R. +R.K. +M.K. +G.G.55 +R.K. +G.G.81 +M.K.
e----M.K. +W.R. +R.K. +G.G.81 +G.G.55 +R.K. +M.K. +G.G.81

How to Answer :
To this address mail me with your answer as follows.
Ans. : ( one from a to e )

Your Comment :

Your Mail Address : ( If you don't mind. )

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