Goldberg Variations

Mira Opalińska—piano

The Goldberg Variations is among Johann Sebastian Bach’s most monumental works for solo keyboard instrument. The iconic opening Aria—a haunting sarabande—gives way to 30 strikingly diverse variations built upon the initial 32-bar bass line and its implied harmony.

As formidable today as it was when first published in 1741, this Baroque masterpiece demands from the performer great virtuosity* and restrained sensitivity in equal measures. Indeed, Bach’s enduring genius is in his unrivalled ability to reconcile dry academic and instrumental technique with transcendent beauty; mathematical perfection with profound compassion.

* Originally composed for two-manual harpsichord, Bach indicates whether a variation is to be performed on one manual (a 1 Clav.) or two (a 2 Clav.), with the latter proving particularly challenging when realised on the single keyboard of a modern piano. Furthermore, Opalińska opts to perform the Goldberg Variations entirely without pedalling.

Track listing

01_goldberg_variations_aria.mp302_goldberg_variations_var_1.mp303_goldberg_variations_var_2.mp304_goldberg_variations_var_3_-_canone_allunisuono.mp305_goldberg_variations_var_4.mp306_goldberg_variations_var_5.mp307_goldberg_variations_var_6_-_canone_alla_seconda.mp308_goldberg_variations_var_7_-_al_tempo_di_giga.mp309_goldberg_variations_var_8.mp310_goldberg_variations_var_9_-_canone_alla_terza.mp311_goldberg_variations_var_10_-_fughetta.mp312_goldberg_variations_var_11.mp313_goldberg_variations_var_12_-_canone_alla_quarta.mp314_goldberg_variations_var_13.mp315_goldberg_variations_var_14.mp316_goldberg_variations_var_15_-_canone_alla_quinta_andante.mp317_goldberg_variations_var_16_-_ouverture.mp318_goldberg_variations_var_17.mp319_goldberg_variations_var_18_-_canone_alla_sesta.mp320_goldberg_variations_var_19.mp321_goldberg_variations_var_20.mp322_goldberg_variations_var_21_-_canone_alla_settima.mp323_goldberg_variations_var_22_alla_breve.mp324_goldberg_variations_var_23.mp325_goldberg_variations_var_24_-_canone_allottava.mp326_goldberg_variations_var_25_adagio.mp327_goldberg_variations_var_26.mp328_goldberg_variations_var_27_-_canone_alla_nona.mp329_goldberg_variations_var_28.mp330_goldberg_variations_var_29.mp331_goldberg_variations_var_30_-_quodlibet.mp332_goldberg_variations_aria.mp3

Credits & Additional Notes

Piano model: Hamburg Steinway & Sons D-274 (2010)

Recorded at Filharmonia Podkarpacka, Rzeszów, Poland, 1–4 August 2017

Special thanks to Danuta Magoń-Opalińska and Witalis Opaliński for their support.