Bach's expectations and Glenn Gould's recollections
Now we are going to listen to the virtual dialogue between Bach and Gould in the theme of the Goldberg Variations referring the structure of its canons.
As a whole, this dialogue is a function based on the historical facts. So you may enjoy it.
Canon 2: canone all' Seconda
Canon 3: canone alla Terza
Canon 4: canone alla Quarta
Canon 5: canone alla Quinta
Canon 6: canone alla Marcia
Canon 7: canone alla Settima
Canon 8: canone alla Ottava
Canon 9: canone alla Nona
Aria da Capo
"I have been thinking about making a new set of variations with some considerable size and volume. By now, I could not devote myself into the world of variations, while making every other kind of music which now I can imagine. But, I became to have an anticipation that the next set of variations will be one of the most important works of mine, by the performance of a clavierist who has something to do with initials of G."
"Then I made up my mind to use a theme which has a starting note of G. And the theme suitable for this aspect has come up. It is a Sarabande which my wife Anna Magdalena wrote down on her musical notebook. Its starting notes are G3 and G5."
"After a while, when Count Von Keyserlingk happened to visit my house in Leipzig, he asked me to compose a kind of music which can soothe his insomnia. One of the Count's sons was studying at the Leipzig University, and the Count came here several times in these two years. For healing his insomnia, variations might have so-so force against it. I decided to finish these variations under development at that time, and after that to present it to the Count. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg has been an eligible young harpsichordist these days. And he is a musician exclusively belonging to the Count. Any way, Goldberg performs that work, and my expectations will be accomplished."
"Later, I had a chance to hear the rumor that Goldberg was doing excellent performance of that set of variations not only at the waiting room next to the bedroom for the Count's sleep assistance but also in front of the audience of the Count's intimate friends for enjoyment. It was said that the Count called it as 'my variations', but the world became to call it as 'the Goldberg Variations'. Anyway I would allow that that work might be called as the 'G's Variations' or 'the Goldberg Variations' in the future.
"And in near future, I imagine that a new talent with the name of initials G. or G.G. will appear on the earth to give the world the peace by that set of variations. Then it will be O.K. that it will be called after the name of this new talent."
"Well, by the way, in that canone all' Unisuono, the canone leader overlaps the follower. The feeling is meant to be light and easy and it will lead to the world of peacefulness. Usually to pile oneself on oneself by a certain time span may be gloomy, so here I am going to light up one's heart." @
"Nobody Knows the reason why I chose the Goldberg Variations as the work for my recording debut. I have never told anything about it. The reason was too simple for me to explain it by pretending to be thoughtful. I should have been ashamed of saying it an enigma or a secret. Apart from superficial aspects, it has so profound meanings, like the way the Art of Fuge has principle four notes (B A C H) at the end of its unfinished work."
"I have been supposed be a very much talkative person for everyone. Actually I am too conscious to talk about essential matters. All I talked are all genuine, at the same time many things have not been told."
"More than thirty years ago, at the moment I saw the score of the Goldberg Variations for the first time for me, I screamed in my mind 'Oh! This is My Variations.' right away. Surprisingly my initials were caved on the first two notes and the last two. Not only starting two notes but also ending two notes are G and G. I thought that J. S. Bach had prepared this kind of work especially for me, only for me. It was more than two hundred years before. The way it starts and lasts with the notes G and G should be related with an unknown secrets."
"But according to the documents, the title 'Goldberg' was from a name. John Godlieb Goldberg was one of the private students of J. S. Bach, and this work was named after him as a popular name."
"I felt a moving sense of rivalry toward Goldberg although he was only a historical existence, nothing more. On the contrary I could not ignore something similar which lies between me and him. Goldberg seemed to be born in Gudanisk, the northern part of Poland, I was raised in Toronto, the northern part of Canada. Those places may have some resemblance. He moved to Dresden the center of musical activities at that time, to be a musician. I did my debut in New York. Accidentally facial looks might be nearly the same. Unfortunately his portrait was never found, so it is impossible to identify this fact. As far as I know, he died in his 20s. His name has two Gs in initials. His initials are J.G.G. and mine is G.G. Actually I have ignored my middle name. But it is not the point. My name is Glenn Gould. So G.G. are my initials. Based on these two initials, I should be the due performer for the Goldberg Variations. He was only Jr.G.G. Anyway I am going to make this matter concealed. Ah! if Goldberg was not a name of a person but indicated a gold mine, I could have fully felt satisfied with the history of this work because of its musical richness."
"I wrote 'If this work made a hit as a lullaby, it is very much suspicious that 'Maestro' Goldberg performed faithfully this sensational and bitter work.' That is somehow exaggerated, but is what I thought about during my first recording. The sense of rivalry towards Goldberg was so strong. What can I do to be a due performer of this work? This question lead me to the realm of performing artists." @
"My works were seldom put the name after any individuals. Specially, the publishing of 'the Goldberg' was named by myself as 'Keyboard practice or clavier etude consisting of an Aria with different variations for the harpsichord with two manuals. Prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers by the Court Composer for the king of Poland and Selected Governor of Saechs, Director of Music in Leipzig von Johann Sebastian Bach. Published by Verlegung Balthasar Schmids in Nurnberg'. But it is too long as a name of a clavier work and it is hard to remember the name. So many people are used to call it 'the Goldberg Variations' nowadays.
Johann Gottlieb Theophilus Goldberg is a very good performer. However only a few people including von Hermann Carl Keyserlingk can listen to his live performance. It is not sufficient for me to obtain this kind of reputation. I didn't dedicate it to Count Keyserlingk personally. Only I gave the first copy as a present. So, more people should look at the score and hear this music. So, I published this score as 'Etudes'. In the meanwhile the second G or G. G. will appear.
"Well, in that 'Canone alla Secunda', a melody, which follows the first one with one bar after, is two whole steps above the original melody. The overlap of melodies will give us a feeling of falling down and down continuously. But not into the dark deep water, but into the bright outer space. So to speak, in musical space, we are going to experience the zero gravity." @
"I formally said, 'To tell the truth, I don't want to listen to the Goldberg more frequently than any other music. Maybe the Goldberg is not a work which I love to listen to. I feel like having obligation to hear it.' In other word, this is 'My Variations', it is not a music which I hear, it is a music which I should play for someone. When the recording was completed, I felt it best. But after being on sale, I felt sense of incongruity when I heard my performance on record. About things like this, I have never told to anyone."
In fact the sense of 'My Variations' was too strong so that there lacked the element of healing. Of course I could knock down Mr. Gottlieb Goldberg completely. I only enjoyed beating him, so the effort was not sufficient for making this work into 'My Variations'. The sales record was wonderful, but it had this kind of fault, so nobody proposed to call this work as 'the Glenn Gould Variations'. Bach did not named it 'the Goldberg Variations' by himself, so I suppose, he would not have any objection on the rename to "the Glenn Gould Variations". Anyway, I myself cannot claim about it. @
"I have never experienced insomnia. On the contrary, many times I had to do my work, composition or copy of scores, all through the night without sleep. This might cause the weakness of the eyes. But almost always Anna Magdarena helped me, so this kind of night work was not so bad. And when an inspiration comes out on my mind at night, I don't want to sleep and sit in front of the keyboard or table to write down scores. While I was playing the clavier at midnight, Anna Magdalena came out of bed, sat beside me and listened to me silently. And soon she fell asleep in the sofa. I almost always sleep well. I have seldom struggled in bed to fall into sleep. Of course some problems concerning my family or work affected me some times not to sleep soon. But those problems were solved then I could sleep well."
"I talked with Count Keyserlingk and realized his insomnia was serious. Of course the Count told nothing concrete about diplomacy, his profession. According to the letter from my old friend Geork Herdmann, Russian diplomat, the political situation in Russia seems to be now critical and changing. Even in Saxen struggle behind-scean might be mind-consuming. As an ambassador, he took the great responsibility night and day, so it is not understandable for him to suffer from insomnia."
"That work was not for the measure counter insomnia from the beginning of composition. But accepting the Count's request, I realized that that Aria as theme was suitable and that the form of variations might be effective. So I continued composing and completed it. Then I presented it to my dear Count."
"The variations which I imagined was not the variations of a theme melody but the variations based on the structure of chord as a theme. I have already made many works of variations which used the change of melody, so I needed different approach. Variations on the common base ground should have basic stability, and each variation should know the way to go back home. It is as though an infant is freely dreaming while hearing the sound of mother's heart beat. This is different from the characteristic of the ordinary variations which will diffuse away with a form of spiral. So, it is most suitable for the Count to listen to my new variations for healing his insomnia."
"Well, in that Canone alla Terza , the melody following one bar after, which is contrary from Canone all' Seconda, has the same form but three steps lower. The image of the tune creates a feeling like flying up and away on the warm wind, which is contrary to the Seconda. This type of canone following the same direction with a few steps difference can make various movements towards infinite directions by overlapping melodies. I intended non-gravity by Canone all' Seconda and free flying by this Canone alla Terza."
"I myself have been suffering from insomnia. But that is not all. There are over-sensitiveness or over-intension towards cleanness which affected me a lot. So I use many kinds of pills. Even in summer I wear a coat and a muffler. Many people might think I am strange. I don't care too much about those things like what people think. My worrying trouble is in another place. It is 'the limit'. "
"When I encountered the Goldberg for the first time, I thought that I could understand it as 'My Variations' completely and as a whole. And after that, at my age of 20 or so, I thought I could see everything of piano music entirely. Seeing as a whole is just knowing the limit over which there should exist nothing. The fear of knowing the limit haunted around me. I could play any complicated piece of music without preparation, I mean, to look at the score for the first time made me possible to play it. That is terrible. This kind of playing technique may be thought at high level, but it means that I am an automatic piano playing machine which has all the knowhow concerning piano music performing art. By inputting musical scores into me, then I reproduce the sound correctly. That is all. At the same time, I felt that there was no way to new classic music composition. Because I saw everything already about the music world with limited horizon. There was no need for me to create a new work. So, I decided to concentrate for a while, on the piano performance itself."
"Enduring the pitiful situations of touring concerts at many places, I was continuously thinking about the Goldberg and about the defects of my performance. After 5 years from the first recording of the Goldberg, and when I stated using the rhythm system of playing, I became to understand that it did not have enough 'Elements of Healing'. The rhythmic system itself can be applied in every tune. Especially the Goldberg might be the most remarkable material for this rhythmic system. But at that time, I could not decide to re-record the Goldberg. It was not because the recording company or management could have objected from the marketing view point, but because I thought that the time had no been matured yet."@
"It is sure that I presented the first copy of the score of the Goldberg as a counter measure against his insomnia. But that work, the Goldberg, has an ambivalence. One side is for a counter measure against insomnia. Another side is for a challenge towards creation of wide range of variety based on one basic chord theme. If a measure against insomnia is the element of 'healing', another element can be said as the element of 'challenge towards intellect'. The true meaning of that work is the fusion of 'sleep' and 'awakening'. Each element intends to give a listener some stability through music. On that base, a listener can freely do sleeping or challenge towards intellect. Not merely diffusing somewhere unknown, the music of that work seeks ease or comfort which is stabilized and free as a nature on the beautiful ground."
"Someday in future, will somebody recognize these thongs? My pupil, Goldberg, now can play that work somehow properly handling two aspects of it for I instructed him how to deal with it. So, when the Count wants to sleep while hearing it, or when he invites people entertaining with it, Goldberg plays well and gets reputations. However Goldberg does not understand the real meaning of two aspects of it nor a mutual relationship. He is still young. At my age, he will be able to understand it."
"Well, on that Canone alla Quarta , not only does the follower begin a perfect 4th lower than the leader, but it moves each of its intervals in the opposite direction: a moto contrario. This canone with contrary motion makes notes move without stability. One moment the notes diffuse, another moment they overlap each other intimately. A listener sometimes feels this kind of instability. But, basically the structure should be on the firm ground, so there is a solid quarter note to start the third part. Even though the instability caused by the diffusion of melody affects this third part to move around one place or another. Thinking about these situations, I made the following 13th variation have the power to eliminate feeling of uneasiness with an upper melody which goes lightly.@
"I don't think my parents had any image or information concerning me and the Goldberg. My family has a root from the family tree of Grieg, a Norwegian composer. The family name 'Gould' is not so unique, and 'Glenn' is popular. G. G. has not been imaged by my parents. However, I think I have inherited the shy character of the Griegs."
"Let me talk about the occasion when I met the Goldberg for the first time. That was while Prof. Alberto Guerrero, my piano tutor at that time, was wondering about which piece of music I should practice after the Well-Tempered Clavier, and when I happened to encounter the scorebook of this work and I asked my teacher what kind of music it is. He said that it was somehow unique etudes of variations by J. S. Bach. Bach composed only a few variations. He was not so interested in it. I also was not interested in the topics related the reason of composing. But I had a complete feeling that I had understood all about the Goldberg when I touched those keys, G3 and G5."
"I heard afterwards that Alberto Guerrero often played the Goldberg on the stage. But I had never heard him play this work either in concert or on lessons. The Goldberg was, from the first encounter to it, my peculiar variations. Though, he was going to teach me this way or that way, out of points when we started lesson of the Goldberg. Then I was disappointed to him and I gave up following him."
"When I was 18 years old, I could play the Goldberg completely at the level of recording. I didn't need Gerrelo anymore. He became an obstacle for my music lesson. After getting 19 years old, I started doing everything on my own way."@
"One autumn day, I visited Dresden, the capital city of Saxen. Next day after my arrival at Dresden, I went to the mansion of Count Keyserlingk carrying the first copied score of that work. Passing through the Augustos Bridge over the Elbe River, I could find the Count's mansion some next to the minister's official residence. About one month earlier, I made J. G. Goldberg come to Leipzig with a faked assignment and then gave him a necessary lesson of that work. It might be easy for me to play it for the Count, but it would result that the Count might have been conscious about the differences of performance between mine and Goldberg's. So, I dared not to play it in front of the Count. Moreover the Count would order Goldberg to play it immediately, given the scorebook. Goldberg has the ability to play it at once. But Goldberg should perform it suitably knowing the purpose of that work, because I present it as like dedicate it to Count Keyserlingk whom I owe greatly. Anyway Count was very much pleased with my gift."
"Apart from musicbox, there is no other way to enjoy the music than going to the church, going to the concert held in Tuinmarman's Coffee Shop, going to a salon or playing ourselves. In case someone plays for you, usually you cannot select the tune on your disposal. From this point of view, the Count is exceptionally happy to listen to his most favorite music, namely that work, whenever and as many times as he wants. This will be a new method of entertainment of music."
"It will be wonderful that many people can enjoy music this way in future. A future G. G. may be able to make this come true. It will not be a dream to feel music directly from the score without any player or instruments. I have many sour experiences like when the level of performers limits the quality of music. Enthusiastic players are making progresses day by day. But I don't want be in charge of those hopeless pupils of the Divinity School as singers or members of our orchestra."
"That Canone alla Quinta is in G minor, which is different from the previous canones. And it is a moto contrario. Minor mode, for the first time in the Goldberg Variations, lends a dark and tragic aura. For me it is rare case, but I put a specification of "andante" for this variation. This canone shall be a special one as the last of the first half of that work.
The follower begin a perfect 5th higher than the leader with one bar delay, but it moves each of its intervals in the opposite direction. We cannot have comfortableness to enjoy the instability the way different from Canone alla Quarta. In the first two bars, notes are far from each other by 2 octaves, and the melodies are trying to communicate mutually overcoming the restriction of a moto contrario. But in the first 16 bars, the movements are overacting downward against upward. So in the last 16 bars, I created, by efforts, a space and time of dreaming and healing together by uniting the deepness and highness through getting over the formal structure of a moto contrario."
"Coming so far this way, I feel sincerely sorry if the Count cannot fall into sleep. If so I planed a cheerful pastime for my Count at the next 16th variation." @
"I played the Goldberg more than 30 times in concert in Moscow, Berlin, etc. You may think that I did remarkably many times, but think like this, if the audience is 2000 people for one concert, 30 times mean 60,000 people. In case of record, 1 million sales mean at least 1 million people should have listened to it. If you want 1 million people attend your concert, you have to do your concerts 5 times a year during 100 years. In that sense, concerts are only pain without results. Moverover as to this work, the audience will be lead to sleep when they really don't want to doze at all. This work has this kind of special power to make people sleepy. It is a contradiction. Of course I thought that nobody would not be willing to sleep while listening my music at first. This thought has made me sick and forced me to retire from the concert stage. Then many critics started prying around the reason of my dropout from the concert. It was hard for me to continue world tours anymore physically and mentally. And I sometimes deliberately said that the concert was dead, as a message. "
"I played the Goldberg more than 30 times in concert in Moscow, Berlin, etc. You may think that I did remarkably many times, but think like this, if the audience is 2000 people for one concert, 30 times mean 60,000 people. In case of record, 1 million sales mean at least 1 million people have listened to it. If you want 1 million people attend to your concert, you have to do your concerts 5 times a year during 100 years. In that sense, concerts are only a pain without results. Moverover as to this work, the audience will be lead to sleep when they really don't want to doze at all. This work has this kind of special power to make people sleepy. It is a contradiction. Of course I thought that nobody would not be willing to sleep while listening to my music at first. This thought has made me sick and forced me to retire from the concert stage. Then many critics started prying around the reason of my dropout from the concert. It was hard for me to continue world tours anymore physically and mentally. And I sometimes deliberately said that the concert was dead, as a message. To tell the truth, the reason was that my performance of the Goldberg had changed a lot during doing many concerts. The most remarkable fact was that some of the audience fell into sleep on their seats. I could sense any of the audience who was going to sleep from the stage. The reason why people got sleep was not the lack of tension nor looseness, but better or the best performance. So to speak, it is a negative effect."
"The audience did not complain about their sleepiness because the concert was good enough. But it is unusual. And I could not tell them not sleep in front of me, or never mind if you sleep."
"I never did concert featuring the Goldberg in Dresden where J. G. Goldberg once lived. I would never do my concert in Dresden. In Berlin I did. In fact Count lived in Berlin for a while. So, Goldberg played this work many times for the Count in Berlin. There Goldberg played for one person's sleep. There I tried to play for more than 2000 people not sleep. I don't want to continue these things. "
"This Canone alla Quinta contains the supreme moments created by J. S. Bach. This moves my soul and heart profoundly. listeners will understand that this canone is one of the top masterpieces full of devotion, but they will not be aware of the fact that this variation was composed following the strict rule of 5 step differences a moto contrario. Is it a great surprise that this artificial rule of canone with 5 step differences a moto contrario could bring about such a marvelous music even by the hand of J. S. Bach?" @
"There is a reason why I published that work as a practice book. Now and at that time, this kind of music is not supposed to be performed in front of the audience or many people. I am afraid that so few people can listen to that work without being played by many people. At the same time, as I intended, that work is a music which can be played well by ordinary music lovers without too much empathy if they have a so-so technique. But in order to make the genuine meaning of that work, namely the fusion of sleep and awakeness, come true in this world, we need a musical genius. Even then, to whom will he play? Or, who can enjoy his performance?""Well, Canone alla Marcia is different from the previous canone, Canone alla Quinta. It is in a marching style in G Major. The following melody is running after the first one on 6 step differences above with a half bar delay and it sounds like an echo of the first melody. There is nothing complicated around here. Canone alla Marcia exhibits its own characteristics which is stable and comfortable, so the work becomes so." @
"The audio technology has developed extensively. This time I used the digital stereo recording system for recording this work to make CD. On the first occasion of recording, there was only an analog monophonic system to make LP, and no DOLBY system. These twenty five years have given me a remarkable change. From now on, I can't imagine what a great technological innovation will wait for us. However, at present I am sure I have sufficient tools for my necessity. In the year 1955, fortunately I could make the most use of the new device at that time, which enabled me to get as much takes as to make the recording perfect. In those days, this method was epoch-making. And I am very much satisfied this time with the result and the digital technology which I could apply for my recording to CD. In other words, to play the piano, to record it, and to make CD or LP have gone to the end of perfect technology. Of course, there should be more breakthroughs in future, but the basic method could not be altered any more. Another breakthrough must aim a different target."
"For example, why don't we use two voices, 3 voices or 4 voices? I mean, it might be interesting to record each voice to each channel and to playback this polyphonic music through 4 speakers arranged in four corners of our room. This could be completely different and surrealistic music from the ordinary piano performance. There, listeners should have the responsibility." @
"Actual performances are indispensable of course. But without performance or without pianists how does a music exist? I played on many occasions and at many places, and I realized that any music could last after the end of performance. Sound cannot stay any longer at one place or in the world of time. Only people at that place and at that moment can exceptionally listen to the specific music. Even though they are used to forget about it. Of course my pupils can make performances, but number of pupils are limited. Moreover my music are now said to be obsolete. Mr. John Adlef Schaipe declared that my music was a Waste of Labor. I think that it doesn't matter if my music is old or not. My music is not a fashion. It is substantial. Anyway people don't care about the meaning of my music. If I publish a scorebook with a sophisticated title, they may say it out of fashion. So, I usually use ordinary titles like 'for practice'. By this way, I would like to expect that more people would be able to have chances to listen to my music. For that work, similarly I put it into the world with a title 'The fourth part of clavier practices'. Now I would like to start the trials of q moto mirror or a moto contrario, which is a manipulation of notes on the score. For the first step, I am engaged in a new canone based on the first eight bass notes from the aria."
"Well, Canone alla Settima is in G minor. As for that work, there are only two canones with G minor, Canone alla Quinta and Canone alla Settima. But Canone alla Settima is the type of a canone following the same direction. The follower goes 7 steps above. This canone is very short. It has only 8 + 8, namely 16 bars. The follower goes with a half bar delay. It is a dark and calm echo which is different from the light echo of Canone alla Marcia."@
"The performance of classic music, especially solo keyboard music, will be replaced with the performance using computer without pianists. Bach and Mozart used a clavier or a piano for their composition. They did not find those instruments meaningful to play back already existing pieces of music using them. From now on if a solo piano performance has its own meaning, there should be with a kind of composing or improvisation. It might be an exaggeration but Bach and Mozart did merely write down their own results of improvisation."
"I am not an enthusiast of the Beatles. But as an example, I would like to talk about their music. They performed many times thier works of the early days on stage. But one of their masterpieces, 'A Day In The Life' had been never played by them except on the recording session. Then, is there any meaning that someone else plays 'A Day In The Life' faithfully in a way similar to the original recording ? Wes Montgomery arranged differently and played it in his original way, then there is a meaning as another piece of music. Anyway it is not necessary to have a mere copy if there is the original. We can listen anytime to the original recording."
"As to this work, it became to be "the Glenn Gould Variations" in the year 1981, and there is nothing more for me to do for this work. In other words, the recording of the Goldberg was merely the result of a capricious recording by Glenn Gould, nothing more. Anyone can make a capricious recording of this work only by using a computer." @
"I think I have to talk about my dear wife, Anna Magdalena, because she had been involved somehow in this work. She by nature had a talent of music. Actually she was a singer with splendid voice before our marriage. After she was married, she was a wonderful wife and mother for our family on our daily life. Sometimes she had chances to sing as a professional singer. But usually she is at home, practices the clavier in her spare time. She manages the household chore for me, our children and my pupils. She loves flowers and fills our garden with flowers. Especially she loves yellow pinks. The theme aria is based on a piece of Sarabande in a light green music notebook which I presented to my dear in the year 1725. That Sarabande was written down by Anna following the memo of a work which I composed a little before. Anna was very fond of it. So I modified it several times. Then the score became messy. When I said to Anna that I was going to make a work of variations for a present to Count Keyserlingk using this Sarabande as its theme and I would like to publish it afterwards, Anna decided to rewrite it on another page beautifully, and threw away the page of the original score with many modifications."
"Count Keyserlingk visited my home time after time. At one of those occasions, the Count asked Anna to play the clavier a little. Anna at first hesitated, but she fully understood the Count's kind support for me and his honorable character, so dared to play one piece of music from that music notebook which she loved the best and which was tender of heart. Now I know that it was that Sarabande."
"Well, Canone alla Ottava has a specific character that is, 8/9, the follower is after 2 bars in the same direction and 8 steps below or later 8 steps above. 8 steps means one octave and it has 2 bar delay, so there is no difficulty. But the long trill at the start of the second part calls an anxiety of an irritated heart. The seemingly bright but anxiously irritated atmosphere of Canone alla Ottava will be taken full care by the next 25th variation. " @
"The sarabande of the Aria as the theme of the Goldberg Variations is constructed on a noble grandbass, which always has a stable chord composition. The Aria solo can be called as a distinguished masterpiece. Needless to say, the Variations are a masterpiece among masterpieces. But some of the Variations have some different images. For example, the 14th variation can be said as a slipshod work, and the 25th variation is a adagio filled with melancholy and subjective expressions like a Chopin's nocturne with romantic atmosphere. On the first recording of the Goldberg, I played the 25th variation like a Chopin piano player. In other words, I deliberately decreased the dynamics and altered the temp slightly, which is showy. On the latest recording, I intended to place the dignity by agonizing and enduring which might be thought uncanny and less emotional. Moreover the 30th variation is somehow incoherent as the last variation. This 30th variation is called Quolibet which is by popular music formula, so more or less is felt misplaced. But all through the Goldberg Variations, the 30th variations is also splendid and under the whole structure of the work."
"This work, The Goldberg Variations, is thoroughly organized as a state of an absolute monarch or a baroque garden, and is full of counterpoint technique and enigma. The possibility of counterpoint method and canone/fugue makes me stand on the boundary between alchemy of Medieval time and scientific study of modern age." @
"Last year (1741) was a good year when Karl Philipe Emanuelle, my son, got the job as a court cembalist of the Imperial Court of Pozudum. At the same time last year was a sad year when Tuinmamann, the owner of cafe where many times I held concerts in Leipzig. By the way, I usually made trips with my wife, Anna. But when I was going to see my son, Karl Philipe Emanuelle, in Berlin unusually without accompanying my wife, I got a news that Anna got sick suddenly. Then I quitted the scheduled journey to Berlin and came back in a hurry to my home. When I arrived at my house, she was already fine. I was too much worrying. I thought that there was some hitch for her when I went to see my son of former wife."
"Well, Canone alla Nona has only two parts. Namely there is no accompanying bass part. So, it becomes simple. For the first part, the following melody starts with one bar delay, nine steps above and in the same direction. For the later part the following melody starts nine steps below. It is a strict canone, but melodies don't overlap each other. To tell the truth, canone with nine steps difference doesn't work well as canone in terms of creation of time and space. In that work, every fourth variation was canone. For welcoming sleep, nine steps canone is enough. I can try other canones in another occasion."
"I am fifty years old this year. As I thought about and stated before, I am going to quit my career as pianist. My parents are still alive, which is different from Bach's case. They are healthier than me. Two years ago, I wrote my will, which tells that all of my property should go to charitable organizations. Actually I intended to live a life without piano until 80 years old so I didn't want to write my will. But after the second recording of the Goldberg, things have changed somehow. I feel I am losing energy from my body. This work may want me to become a martyr. If I played the Goldberg continuously without thinking anything in my younger days and dared to re-recording this work much earlier, I would have died before getting 30 years old like Johann Gottlieb Goldberg."@
"It was a mere coincidence. When Count Keyserlingk requested me to make a piece of music which would help count for sleep well, I was doing composition with that Sarabande as the theme. It was a good luck that Count liked that Sarabande which Anna played for him. The point of Count's request was anti-insomnia, so I was going to give careful consideration in the course of the later half part composition. One thing was that it would be for sleep and played at night, so the number of variations had been set to 30 after 30 days of moon tide. Another thing was that as time passed then music would be calmer and deeper. It was done by the 25th variation. So this variation should not be played sentimentally, but it should be performed with serener and deeper repose. If it doesn't work and the spirit of sleep doesn't appear to him, it is not strategic to keep fighting through the night. For this case I prepared a such story as continuing light variations and finally giving a pastime by the Quodlibet."
"There was a certain reason why I made the 30th variation into Quodlibet, which means a random mixture. The Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony in Dresden, Count Keyserlingk, admired my music kindly for a long time. Six years ago, in the year 1736, the Count made a great effort for me to be designated as the court composer of the electoral court of Saxony. In fact, the Count himself brought me the information of designation. That year, I went to the capital of the electoral court of Saxony, Dresden, and on the 1st of December I made a memorial performance in order to express my gratitude using a newly made organ by Jilbermann, an organ manufacturer for the Saint Mary Church. Count Keyserlingk was there and later sent me a letter saying that my performance was impressive. So, I visited his mansion to thank to all the things he made for me. The Count friendly received my visit, and we talked about favorite music and about other many things. Then we became like old friends. Since then the Count stopped by my house when he had business in Leipzig. In these years, his honorable son is studying here at the Leipzig University, so the Count had frequent chances to come to this city. One day when the Count dropped at my home, the Bach's family music party had taken place. With the Count presence, my family and friends had hesitation unusually. But as time passed, usual cheerfulness came back finally. So not only serious music but also funny and popular songs in the street were played and sung. For the Count it was a peculiar experience. Among many songs, one girl ;"I've not been with you for so long. Come closer, closer, closer."
and "Beets and spinach ; "Beets and spinach drove me far away. Had my mother cooked some meat, then I'd have strayed much longer."
made him amused. So I memorized it. On thet day no one made any Quodlibets using these two songs. But many other Quodlibets had been made and enjoyed. The Count said to me later that there were lots of funny songs like Quodlibet. Then I decided to make new Quodlibet based on these two songs."
"Well, do you imagine why I didn't assign the canone with 10 steps difference in place of that Quodlibet? In terms of number, the 30th variation should have been the canone with 10 steps difference. The reason was that, as I said about the canone with 9 steps difference, the canone with 10 steps difference would not be suitable for the purpose of that work, I mean 'for sleep'. A canone with 10 steps difference can be easily obtained by modifying a canone with 3 steps difference adding one octave high or low to the following melody. But melodies cannot collaborate to make harmony. There will not be any creation of zero gravity in sound space.
Then the 30th variation was to be a Quodlibet, mixture of canone or something different. Even so the first four bars was on the canone formula. At first 8 steps difference, then 5 steps difference.
Frankly speaking the 30th variation is not a canone, but there are several tricks put together. Especially the melody 'Beets and spinach' was used 8 times in total 16 bars of the 30th variation. The original level, 5 steps above, the same level, 9 steps above, 2 steps above, 2 steps below, 3 steps above, 4 steps below. This melody doesn't show up only in 3 bars out of 16 bars.
In 7th bar and 8th bar of the first part of this variation and also of the last part, a rotatable counterpart technique was incorporated. As a whole, there are four parts of melody. Then the upper part the second lower part changes each other." @
"'Healing' can be generated from the 30th variation. A listener or a performer can expect the Aria da Capo coming next to the Quodlibet, a very popular type of music. And listening to and playing the Quodlibet, people can feel liberation from their confined hearts like uncovering multilayered shells one by one."
"This is a great 'healing' for me. About these fifty years, I am always by the piano, and I have never been away from it. It has been a great pleasure for me to be with the piano, to play it or to be able to play it. But there has been a limit which I could never overcome. If J. S. Bach were alive now, he would compose and play splendidly whatever instruments, piano, cembalo, etc as he likes and make his own CDs. in that case, what is the meaning of the performance of Glenn Gould? This is a heavy and annoying question for me. Anyway, while playing the 30th variation, I don't know why, but I feel free from that burden."
"Actually J.S.Bach is a historical existence. What we have now are only his scores. So I intended to create an original work performed by Glenn Gould and composed by J.S.Bach. That should be the only reason of my existence, so I thought. This consciousness might make me hum unconsciously while playing. This humming was a surely Gould's original. From this point of view, many concert appearances would reduce this kind of originality. I was staying out of stages from the year 1964. I should be careful to avoid for me to be an automatic piano playing machine following programmed codes. If I were a violinist, a flutist or a singer, I would be more cheerful without annoying how to separate composer and performer."
"A musical work as an art should be proper when the score and its performance are integrated into one thing. In case of the Goldberg Variations, the condition was perfect. Because it is 'the variations composed by Bach and performed by Goldberg'. Now it should be 'the variations composed by Bach and performed by Gould'. So, it should be 'the Glenn Gould Variations'. I want people think like this way. Otherwise, 'the GouldBlend Variations' or 'the GouldBrag Variations' might be better." @
"Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is one of the finest pupils of mine, and he can play very well. So, I don't mind that that work was named after him. But I think the name is not good for the name of a musical work. Goldberg means a gold mine. Then we call it 'the Gold Mine Variations' full of gold bars. In fact the Count gave me a cup full of gold coins as a reward of that work made for him. For my family that work is a mountain of gold namely 'the Goldberg'. Canones of that work have a secret power to develop itself more like musical alchemy. But the image of gold is not fit to that work. I am afraid that the name would affect people in future to have a wrong golden gorgeous image. I don't want people play that work too quietly because it was anti insomnia for the Count. As I put down a comment on the title of that work 'prepared for the comfort and enjoyment of music lovers', I think that the most suitable way of performing that work is to play it gently and somehow a little cheerfully. By the way how about another name? For example let's name it 'the Keyserlingk Variations' after Count Von Keyserlingk. I imagine that 'Keyserlingk' may be linked to 'Caesar' link. Then it goes to 'the Caesar-link Variations'. It is too exaggerated, isn't it? In fact there is no need to put an alias like ' the So-so variations'. If necessary, how about 'the GleitchenGold Variations'. This GleitchenGold means 'the same value as gold'. Anyway I expect that that work shall be named after a performer with his or her initials are G and G. someday in future." @
Well, the dialogue between two has come to an end. Bach anticipated and Gould expected to make "these variations" or "those variations" into "the Glenn Gould Variations". So, let's rename it.
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|To be continued to related materials...|