All week, we're exploring Bach 's " Goldberg Variations. How do I love the Goldbergs? Let me count the many recordings Just as Miles Davis ' Kind of Blue was one of those jazz albums you saw in the collections of people who otherwise didn't listen to jazz, Glenn Gould 's LP of Bach's Goldberg Variations stuck out in record collections otherwise devoid of classical music. Gould's Goldbergs introduced millions of Americans to a breathtakingly new sonic landscape.
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The Goldberg Variations were composed in and were intended to be the fourth part of Bach's serie of keyboard exercises. Turns out Johann Theophilus Goldberg , one of Bach 's students, lived with Count Keyserling , an ill man who had some insomnia problems. He asked Bach if he could would compose some cheerful , quiet pieces to brighten him up during his sleepless nights. Bach thought of his variations and soon Goldberg would play them to the Count every time he couldn't sleep. The Count ended up giving Bach a golden goblet, filled with louis d'or : quite possibly the biggest amount of money Bach ever got from his work as a composer.
Bach was best known during his lifetime as an organist, organ consultant, and composer of organ works in both the traditional German free genres—such as preludes, fantasias, and toccatas—and stricter forms, such as chorale preludes and fugues. At a young age, he established a reputation for his great creativity and ability to integrate foreign styles into his organ works. Around this time, Bach copied the works of numerous French and Italian composers to gain insights into their compositional languages, and later arranged violin concertos by Vivaldi and others for organ and harpsichord.
Please select a donation amount. Johann Sebastian Bach. Listen to audio:. Variety may be the spice of life, but variation is something much more fundamental to music. Any sort of motivic development is a form of micro-variation, for example, and on another level, interpretation inevitably implies variation.