Goldberg variations single movement

His statement is not a direct reference to Johann Sebastian Bach —though of course he places Goldberg variations single movement in the highest echelon.

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bach's music is indisputably "great", and he himself always confirmed that composed in order to praise God. In the process he wrote a number of works that rise so far above the repertoire and formal canon of their time that they are rightly regarded as "timeless" — "timeless" not in terms of formal and technical details, but rather in their overall appearance.

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Listening to or playing Bach is, Denhoff explains, almost like praying, but my own music serves to praise God only in the same way that the painter Alexej von Jawlensky once phrased it: These suites remain, even now, surfaces for projecting artistic reflections. As the "theme" of his Bach Variations, Op. Bach conceived this sarabande as a wonderfully simple and sublime Denhoff one-part movement, the meditative, uniform rhythm of which is subtly questioned by tensions as the melody unfolds.

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The entire Sarabande is based on a single-bar motif and its inversion, and the leap-prone melody of this central idea obtains, by means of an upward-striving leading note — and, correspondingly, a falling semitone in its inversion — its defining characteristic.

I know that such a cycle may seem to be retrospective, but therein lies the beauty of advancing goldberg variations single movement age.


I enjoy the freedom of no longer having to fulfill expectations; rather, I follow and pursue only my inner desires. Arnold Schoenberg said it best: He regards music as a medium for recalling or triggering memories, hopes, dreams, and visions, a realm of intellectual and spiritual experiences.

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When I heard the final recording of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould, a wish grew inside me to create something comparably amazing and comprehensive Only now, and quite hesitantly — and wracked with self-doubt — have I felt qualified goldberg variations single movement the task, but with 28 variations I intended to remain "modest" behind Bach.

Even so, it grew to contain 30 variations, since the theme adds a bass line and thus itself becomes a variation; the concluding repeat of the Sarabande, similar to Bach's Aria in the Goldberg Variations, is a further variation; indeed, Bach's exact sequence goldberg variations single movement notes appears, but here with octave leaps.

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Denhoff, himself a cellist, sees the aforementioned added bass line as a countersubject, one that had been on his mind for a long time while playing the Bach Sarabande, deeply moved by goldberg variations single movement affecting intimacy, and one which he has now written out.

Denhoff continues: When transcribing it for goldberg variations single movement piano, composing the Sarabande in two parts became self-evident, and to highlight the harmonic boldness in the countersubject while remaining entirely tonal.

goldberg variations single movement

It continues where Bach left off. Surrounded by the Sarabande as a framing device, marking the beginning and end of all musicDenhoff notes that the 28 variations are interconnected and should be played attacca.

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He divides the variations into seven times three variations, plus seven fantasy variations, an allusion to Christian numerological symbolism: The goldberg variations single movement variations expand the groups from three to four, and thus goldberg variations single movement a completeness aimed at godly creation: Denhoff reflects this "completeness" musically by using precisely those notes that Bach does not use in the respective bars of his Sarabande: These notes do not occur in my corresponding fantasy variation; rather, only the seven other notes missing from the chromatic total, C-sharp—D—E—F—F-sharp—A—B-flat.

In his Bach Variations Denhoff also reflects Bach's canonic techniques with canons at the root, second, third, etc.

goldberg variations single movement

Every fourth number, beginning with the number 2, the composer focuses on a certain interval or group of intervals, as he explains: In the case of number 2, it is a third and a sixth in the inversion; number 6, a fifth and a fourth; and number 10, a second and a seventh, and so on. This strict method is not, however, a structural end in itself, but rather a tribute to Bach transformed for our time, leaving Denhoff total liberty within the limits that he imposed goldberg variations single movement himself.

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Indeed, he regards the constraints and shackles that he imposes goldberg variations single movement himself as the key to a higher form of freedom — a freedom which, beyond personal choices, corresponds directly to the dedicatee character of the goldberg variations single movement. The dedications are intended to be associative, for sure, but in their stringency and concentration attempt to convey a succinct feature of the music of each respective dedicatee.

The duality of movement and stasis Such intentions need not manifest themselves immediately: The claim of simultaneously "drawing" portraits of each dedicatee is, however, integral to Denhoff's concept.

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In No. The "filter swing" is based on a single chromatic cluster, played with both hands, from which partial chords or intervals get filtered out. Denhoff, in addition to composers and performers of his music including Birgitta Wollenweber and Martin Tchiba, salutes visual artists such as Wolfgang Ueberhorst and close family members.

The Bach Variations, as a cosmos of connecting goldberg variations single movement, sources of inspiration and intellectual relationships, stretch beyond themselves in two senses — in one way as music that always speaks goldberg variations single movement itself despite its concrete references, and in the other as a sound space with windows and doors to give space for contemplation and reflection merely by virtue of directing one's attention to the dedicatees singles sinzig drawing imaginary relationships between sounds and images, sounds and words, sounds and thoughts.

Denhoff also brings this aspect vividly to the foreground in the 28th and final variation Fantasia VII, tranquillowhich is dedicated to the painter and priest Herbert Falken, and whose finely-spun, existentially-oriented duality of movement and stasis straddles the artistic tightrope between abstraction and spiritual intensity. This extensive variation almost approaches the heft of a finale, before the circle closes with the deeply-felt Sarabande.

Bach, as seen in this light, becomes a point of reference for Western intellectual and cultural history, which Michael Denhoff feels an obligation to uphold and to whose goldberg variations single movement he also contributes with his own work.

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This sense of integrating, and feeling bound to, a tradition implicates at the same time the challenge of maintaining such a history and, as in the Bach Variations, Op.