Ruta Bloomfield | Aria With Thirty Variations (Goldberg Variations)

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George Frederic Handel Johann Sebastian Bach

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Aria With Thirty Variations (Goldberg Variations)

by Ruta Bloomfield

Experience a distinctive performance of this monumental work by Bach consisting of 75,730 notes.
Genre: Classical: Bach
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: I. Aria
2:20 $0.99
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2. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: II. Variatio 1
2:37 $0.99
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3. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: III. Variatio 2
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4. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: IV. Variatio 3 Canone All’unisono
1:39 $0.99
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5. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: V. Variatio 4
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6. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: VI. Variatio 5
2:41 $0.99
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7. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: VII. Variatio 6 Canone Alla Seconda
1:59 $0.99
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8. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: VIII. Variatio 7
2:15 $0.99
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9. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: IX. Variatio 8
2:43 $0.99
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10. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: X. Variatio 9 Canone Alla Terza
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11. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XI. Variatio 10 Fughetta
1:52 $0.99
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12. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XII. Variatio 11
3:21 $0.99
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13. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XIII. Variatio 12 Canone Alla Quarta
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14. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XIV. Variatio 13
3:05 $0.99
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15. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XV. Variatio 14
2:26 $0.99
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16. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XVI. Variatio 15 Canone Alla Quinta
2:36 $0.99
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17. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XVII. Variatio 16 Ouverture
1:45 $0.99
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18. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XVIII. Variatio 17
2:38 $0.99
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19. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XIX. Variatio 18 Canone Alla Sesta
1:39 $0.99
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20. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XX. Variatio 19
1:59 $0.99
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21. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXI. Variatio 20
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22. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXII. Variatio 21 Canone Alla Settima
3:49 $0.99
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23. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXIII. Variatio 22 Alla Breve
1:41 $0.99
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24. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXIV. Variatio 23
2:40 $0.99
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25. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXV. Variatio 24 Canone All'ottava
1:57 $0.99
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26. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXVI. Variatio 25
4:42 $0.99
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27. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXVII. Variatio 26
3:08 $0.99
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28. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXVIII. Variatio 27 Canone Alla Nona
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29. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXIX. Variatio 28
3:04 $0.99
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30. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXX. Variatio 29
2:52 $0.99
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31. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXXI. Variatio 30 Quodlibet
2:34 $0.99
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32. Aria With Thirty Variations in G Major, BWV 988: XXXII. Aria da Capo
2:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
A five hour visit to the Bach museum in his home town of Eisenach, Germany confirmed my decision to perform and record his magnificent Aria with Thirty Variations (Goldberg Variations). In one room, individual listening stations hung from the ceiling. Tears streamed down my face as I heard the Aria in that setting. In that moment any reservations about undertaking such a monumental task were washed away.

Aria with Thirty Variations BWV 988 was published as the fourth volume of Bach’s Clavier Übung in 1741. The title page specifies the work for a harpsichord with two manuals. Though many pianists have performed this piece, their job is made more difficult by the limitation of one keyboard, as there are a number of movements where both hands occupy the same space.

Johann Forkel tells the origin of the nickname “Goldberg Variations” in his 1802 biography of Bach. Count Keyserlingk would have his young musician, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, play the variations to help him get through sleepless nights. Though the story is likely apocryphal, the nickname has stuck.

The structure of the work is symmetrical. Aria (the theme) is a thirty-two measure sarabande, divided into sixteen-bar segments. Each half is divided further harmonically by eight bar sections: G major – D major – E minor – G major. Including the da capo of the Aria, there are a total of thirty-two movements, mirroring the thirty-two measures of the theme. Rather than varying the melody itself, Bach instead builds each movement on the harmony implied by the bass line of each measure.

Taking their cue from the proportions of the Aria, the variations are all either 16 or 32 bars in length. They can be grouped into ten sets of three, with the third variation in each being a canon. Bach starts the first canon in Variation 3 at the unison, and moves up one scale degree with each subsequent canon, reaching a canon at the ninth in Var. 27. Canons at the fourth and fifth are in contrary motion, and all save the last are accompanied by an independent bass line. Of the other two variations in each group, one is what Ralph Kirkpatrick called “arabesques” – cross-hands virtuoso works for two manuals. The third in each set is variable, including: passepied (Var. 4); giga (Var. 7); fughetta (Var. 10); richly decorated sarabande (Var. 13); French Overture (Var. 16); minuet (Var. 19); contrapuntal alla breve (Var. 22), adagio aria (Var. 25), and Quodlibet (Var. 30).

The French Overture (Var. 16) convincingly announces the second half of the work, reflecting the binary form of the Aria. This comes directly after the first of three variations in G minor, the others being Var. 21 and Var. 25. Wanda Landowska famously called the latter “the black pearl,” as it is the emotional high point of the work. One of the biggest challenges for the performer is to come out of this highly chromatic, highly emotional variation and then switch gears quickly to the great technical demands of Var. 26. Var. 25 also brings us to the final part of the work, as a crescendo of variations builds to the end. Var. 30 is a Quodlibet, Latin for “what pleases.” It is based on two German folk songs and invokes a Bach family custom of improvising by piecing together popular songs. When the work closes with a return of the initial Aria, we meet up with an old familiar friend, though now our encounter is somehow different. The intervening variations have changed us both.

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