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The black pearl variation: Goldberg #25

Alisdair Kitchen is rounding the final bend of his Bach marathon:

alisdair kitchen

Variation 25

Legendary harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, who did much to bring the Goldbergs to the attention of the musical public, called this variation ‘the black pearl’ (though fans of Johnny Depp may be disappointed…) It is indeed a desolate, yet hauntingly beautiful landscape; a study in black and white in which the mind boggles at the genius who could derive this chromatic labyrinth from the simplicity of the bass theme. The challenge for the player (in my opinion) is not to over-emote, to avoid cheapening the expression, and in doing so allow pathos to turn to melodramatic trickery.

 

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Comments

  1. Certainly the darkest variation, with edgy chromatics and surprising changes. Always thought of the blues and jazz here.

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