The words are included. With emphasis placed on praise.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation. In some years, there is no such day, e. Recorded in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig. Recorded in Schloss Ludwigsburg. Rondeau Production. Their inclusion in that work has been occasionally considered strange by scholars, and many theories have arisen surrounding the duets' origins, purpose and significance. History The first version of the work was completed as a cantata for Easter Sunday in Leipzig on April 1, , then under the title Kommt, gehet und eilet. In a later version in the s the third movement was expanded from a duet to a four-part chorus.
Its author is Picander who is also likely the author of the oratorio's text. It seems possible that the third movement is based on the concerto's finale.
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Structure The oratorio - different from the Christmas Oratorio - has no narrator but four characters assigned to the four voice parts: Simon Peter tenor and John the Apostle bass , appearing in the first duet hurrying to Jesus' grave and finding it empty, meeting there Mary Magdalene alto and "the other Mary", Mary Jacobe soprano. The choir was present only in the final movement until a later performance in the s when the opening duet was set partly for four voices.
The music is festively scored for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, oboe d'amore, bassoon, two recorders, transverse flute, violins, and basso continuo. Music The oratorio opens with two contrasting instrumental movements, an Allegro concerto grosso of the full orchestra with solo sections for violin and oboes, and an Adagio oboe melody over "Seufzer" motifs sighs in the strings. The first duet of the disciples was set for chorus in a later version, the middle section remaining a duet. Many runs illustrate the movement toward the grave. The final movement in two contrasting sections resembles the Sanctus composed for Christmas and later part of the Mass in B Minor.
They were believed for a long time to have been composed by one of Bach's pupils, Johann Tobias Krebs, based on certain unusual characteristics of the music when played on the organ. These pieces came to be played often on the organ in the 19th and 20th centuries, and were especially useful as teaching pieces for beginners.
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Subsequent scholarship by Speerstra, Vogel and others has suggested that this collection was conceived specifically for the pedal clavichord, thereby making the stylistic claim of inauthenticity far less tenable. Several elements of the pieces, including the rolling of large chords, octave doublings and repeater notes, and the patterns of movement of the fingers and feet, the rhythm, and overall texture are idiomatic on the clavichord but make little sense on the organ.
Performer Harald Vogel has recorded the collection on a pedal clavichord along with an essay by Speerstra see liner notes on the clavichordistic nature of these pieces and a discussion of the manuscript indications. These works continue to be performed frequently in Christian churches because of their short length about 3 minutes each and ease of performance compared to the undoubtedly authentic preludes and fugues of J. Nearly all serious students of organ performance learn most, if not all, of these works. References Bach, J. First published in , the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form.
The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer. Composition The tale of how the variations came to be composed comes from an early biography of Bach by Johann Nikolaus Forkel: [For this work] we have to thank the instigation of the former Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony, Count Kaiserling, who often stopped in Leipzig and brought there with him the aforementioned Goldberg, in order to have him given musical instruction by Bach. The Count was often ill and had sleepless nights.
At such times, Goldberg, who lived in his house, had to spend the night in an antechamber, so as to play for him during his insomnia. Once the Count mentioned in Bach's presence that he would like to have some clavier pieces for Goldberg, which should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights.
Bach thought himself best able to fulfill this wish by means of Variations, the writing of which he had until then considered an ungrateful task on account of the repeatedly similar harmonic foundation. But since at this time all his works were already models of art, such also these variations became under his hand.
Yet he produced only a single work of this kind. Thereafter the Count always called them his variations. He never tired of them, and for a long time sleepless nights meant: 'Dear Goldberg, do play me one of. Goldberg Variations my variations. The Count presented him with a golden goblet filled with louis-d'or. Nevertheless, even had the gift been a thousand times larger, their artistic value would not yet have been paid for. The lack of dedication on the title page of the "Aria with Diverse Variations" also makes the tale of the commission unlikely. Goldberg's age at the time of publication 14 years has also been cited as grounds for doubting Forkel's tale, although it must be said that he was known to be an accomplished keyboardist and sight-reader.
In a recent book-length study, keyboardist and Bach scholar Peter Williams contends that the Forkel story is entirely spurious.
The aria on which the variations are based was suggested by Arnold Schering not to have been written by Bach. More recent scholarly literature such as the edition by Christoph Wolff suggests that there is no basis for such doubts.
Publication Rather unusually for Bach's works, the Goldberg Variations were published in his own lifetime, in The publisher was Bach's friend Balthasar Schmid of Nuremberg. Schmid printed the work by making engraved copper plates rather than using movable type ; thus the notes of the first edition are in Schmid's own handwriting.
The edition contains various printing errors. Composed for connoisseurs, for the refreshment of their spirits, by Johann Sebastian Bach, composer for the royal court of Poland and the Electoral court of Saxony, Kapellmeister and Director of Choral Music in Leipzig. Nuremberg, Balthasar Schmid, publisher.
These copies provide virtually the only information available to modern editors trying to reconstruct Bach's intent; the autograph hand-written score has not survived. A handwritten copy of just the aria is found in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. Christoph Wolff suggests on the basis of handwriting evidence that Anna Magdalena copied the aria from the autograph score around ; it appears on two pages previously left blank. Form After a statement of the aria at the beginning of the piece, there are thirty variations. The variations do not follow the melody of the aria, but rather use its bass line and chord progression.
The bass line is notated by Ralph Kirkpatrick in his performing edition as follows. The digits above the notes indicate the specified chord in the system of figured bass; where digits are separated by comma, they indicate different options taken in different variations.
Every third variation in the series of 30 is a canon, following an ascending pattern. Thus, variation 3 is a canon at the unison, variation 6 is a canon at the second the second entry begins the interval of a second above the first , variation 9 is a canon at the third, and so on until variation 27, which is a canon at the ninth. The final variation, instead of being the expected canon in the tenth, is a quodlibet, discussed below. As Ralph Kirkpatrick has pointed out, the variations that intervene between the canons are also arranged in a pattern.
If we leave aside the initial and final material of the work specifically, the Aria, the first two variations, the Quodlibet, and the aria da capo , the remaining material is arranged as follows. The variations found just after each canon are genre pieces of various types, among them three Baroque dances 4, 7, 19 ; a fughetta 10 ; a French overture 16 ; and two ornate arias for the right hand 13, The variations located two after each canon 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29 are what Kirkpatrick calls "arabesques"; they are variations in lively tempo with a great deal of hand-crossing.
All the variations are in G major, apart from variations 15, 21, and 25, which are in G minor. Variations for one and two manuals The work was composed for a two-manual harpsichord see musical keyboard. Variations 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27 and 28 are specified in the score for two manuals, while variations 5, 7 and 29 are specified as playable with either one or two.
With greater difficulty, the work can nevertheless be played on a single-manual harpsichord or piano. The French style of ornamentation suggests that the ornaments are supposed to be parts of the melody, however some performers for example Wilhelm Kempff on piano omit some or all ornaments and present the aria unadorned. Peter Williams comments in Bach: The Goldberg Variations that this is not the theme at all, but actually the first variation a view emphasising the idea of the work as a chaconne rather than a piece in true variation form.
Variatio 1. This sprightly variation contrasts markedly with the slow, contemplative mood of the theme. The rhythm in the right hand forces the emphasis on the second beat, giving rise to syncopation from bars 1 to 7. Hands cross at bar 13 from the upper register to the lower, bringing back this syncopation for another two bars.
In the first two bars of the B part, the rhythm mirrors that of the beginning of the A part, but after this a different idea is introduced. Williams sees this as a sort of polonaise. The characteristic rhythm in the left hand is also found in Bach's Partita No. Variatio 2. The piece is almost a pure canon. Each section has an alternate ending to be played on the first and second repeat.
Variatio 3. As with all canons of the Goldberg Variations except the 27th variation, canon at the ninth , there is a supporting bass line here. Variatio 4.