Bach. Goldberg Variations. Aria


July 02, 2016


Bach at my side, Goldberg Variations


The Aria is a sarabande in 3/4 time, and features a heavily ornamented melody. These ornaments have been severely changed, truncated by many performers and even eliminated, as happened in W. Kempff’s performance and in J.G. Rheinberger’s 2 pianos transcription. In my interpretation, I’m using the repeats to show the simple melody line in the first instance and the true embellishments as wanted by Bach in the second.

This piece contains the structure of all the variations. Each of them is based on the same base line. For this reason, in the repeats I’m underlining the bass notes, which will be the keys to all the following pieces.

There have been several discussions on the performance speed. Even Glenn Gould played the Aria at two completely different tempos, in his two historic recordings. In my opinion, the speed of these pieces is not arbitrary and cannot be decided only according to the personal taste of the performer. There is a structure in every variation, there are proportions and there are equivalences. Therefore the speed of my performance depends on the indications that Bach wrote in the score.

The aesthetics behind this performance are as simple as possible. I tried to play as if I were not conscious of the beauty I’m showing. Beauty is more effective when doesn’t know about itself. This music doesn’t need to be paraded. The less ostentatious we are able to be, the more we are going to give dignity and truthfulness to Bach’s nature. The result will be simple beauty.