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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 – Evgeni Koroliov (Bachfest Leipzig 2008)

Evgeni Koroliov's performances of Bach's music usually arouse great excitement, and his rendering of Bach's famous 30 variations is no exception. Koroliov is a consummate artist and he captivates his listeners with an enormous spiritual understanding of the works he performs, and in whose service he sets the wide range of his artistic and interpretive abilities.

It is the constant switch between tension and relaxation in dynamic and tempo and the breathtaking intensity of his interpretation that makes the listener truly understand Bach. Evgenij Koroliov was very young when he discovered Bach – he heard Glenn Gould in Moscow in 1957 and was influenced by the legendary Russian pianists Maria Judina and Sviatoslav Richter.

In the 1960s and 70s he won important piano competitions ranging from the "Bachwettbewerb Leipzig" and the "Van Cliburn Competition" to the "Grand Prix Clara Haskil".

Οι «Παραλλαγές Γκόλντμπεργκ» του Γιόχαν Σεμπάστιαν Μπαχ αποτελούν ένα από τα πιο σημαντικά έργα που έχουν γραφτεί για τσέμπαλο και το σπουδαιότερο δείγμα παραλλαγών στην Ιστορία της Μουσικής. Το έργο, που αποτελείται από μία άρια και τριάντα παραλλαγές με την άρια να επαναλαμβάνεται στο κλείσιμο, πήρε την ονομασία του από τον πρώτο ερμηνευτή του, τον Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (1727-1756), Γερμανό βιρτουόζο τσεμπαλίστα και οργανίστα, καθώς και συνθέτη του ύστερου μπαρόκ και των αρχών της κλασικής περιόδου, ο οποίος όταν κλήθηκε να ερμηνεύσει τις «Παραλλαγές» ήταν μόλις δεκατεσσάρων χρόνων.

Τις «Παραλλαγές Γκόλντμπεργκ» του Γιόχαν Σεμπάστιαν Μπαχ ερμηνεύει με τρόπο που κόβει την ανάσα και κάνει τον ακροατή να κατανοήσει σε βάθος τον μεγάλο συνθέτη, ο βραβευμένος Ρώσος πιανίστας Εβγκένι Κορολιόφ (Μόσχα, 1949). Καταγραφή αναφοράς του 2008 στο Γκεβάντχαους της Λειψίας, στο πλαίσιο του Φεστιβάλ Μπαχ (Bachfest Leipzig).

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

♪ Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741)

i. Aria
ii. Variatio 1 a 1 Clav
iii. Variatio 2 a 1 Clav
iv. Variatio 3 Canone all' Unisono a 1 Clav
v. Variatio 4 a 1 Clav
vi. Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav
vii. Variatio 6 Canone alla Seconda a 1 Clav
viii. Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav al tempo di Giga
ix. Variatio 8 a 2 Clav
x. Variatio 9 Canone alla Terza a 1 Clav
xi. Variatio 10 Fughetta a 1 Clav
xii. Variatio 11 a 2 Clav
xiii. Variatio 12 Canone alla Quarta a 1 Clav
xiv. Variatio 13 a 2 Clav
xv. Variatio 14 a 2 Clav
xvi. Variatio 15 Canone alla Quinta a 1 Clav
xvii. Variatio 16 Ouverture a 1 Clav
xviii. Variatio 17 a 2 Clav
xix. Variatio 18 Canone alla Sexta a 1 Clav
xx. Variatio 19 a 1 Clav
xxi. Variatio 20 a 2 Clav
xxii. Variatio 21 Canone alla Settima a 1 Clav
xxiii. Variatio 22 a 1 Clav
xxiv. Variatio 23 a 2 Clav
xxv. Variatio 24 Canone all' Ottava a 1 Clav
xxvi. Variatio 25 a 2 Clav
xxvii. Variatio 26 a 2 Clav
xxviii. Variatio 27 Canone alla Nona a 2 Clav
xxix. Variatio 28 a 2 Clav
xxx. Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav
xxxi. Variatio 30 Quodlibet a 1 Clav
xxxii. Aria da Capo e Fine

Evgeni Koroliov, piano

Direction: Michael Beyer

Gewandhaus Leipzig, Bachfest Leipzig 2008

(HD 720p)

Uploaded on Youtube for the Blog "Faces of Classical Music"

I laughed. I cried. Mostly, I listened, rapt, to German-based Russian pianist Koroliov as he unfurled the magical tapestry of the Goldberg Variations, written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1741. Koroliov has said that a childhood inspiration was hearing Glenn Gould play in Moscow in 1957. But this performance goes well beyond anything Gould ever managed. Its hard to imagine a more satisfying set of Goldbergs than this extraordinary live performance from the Bach Festival in Leipzig last year.

The seduction happens on many levels: Koroliovs clear, unaffected articulation, absolute balance between both hands, mastery over the architectural progress of the 30 variations (plus opening and closing Aria) and a crystalline sound from the Hamburg Steinway. Koroliovs rhythmic vitality and clever highlighting of inner voices illuminates this mathematical marvel: Bachs variations are as much an intellectual puzzle as they are beautiful music.

There is not much to see on the DVD, which leaves you free to close your eyes. I was lucky enough to watch the sun gild passing clouds outside my window and contemplate what a miracle it is to have 80 minutes of eternal beauty available to me on the DVD shelf.

Source: John Terauds, Toronto Star,  December 2008

The "Goldberg Variations" is the last of a series of keyboard music Bach published under the title of Clavierόbung, and is often regarded as the most serious and ambitious composition ever written for harpsichord. Based on a single ground bass theme, the variations display not only Bach's exceptional knowledge of diverse styles of music of the day but also his exquisite performing techniques. Being also the largest of all clavier pieces published during the Baroque period, the work soars high above others in terms of its encyclopaedic character. From this, it is often considered that it sums up the entire history of Baroque variation, the "Diabelli Variations" by Beethoven being the Classical counterpart. However, doomed perhaps by its requirements of virtuoso techniques from a performer, it was not as popularly known as the "Well-Tempered Clavier", which was not even published during the composer's lifetime. Nonetheless, the work has long been regarded as the most important set of variations composed in the Baroque era: in 1774 Johann Philipp Kirnberger, one of Bach's pupils, referred to it as "the best variations", while in 1802 Johann Nicolaus Forkel, the author of the first ever biography of J. S. Bach, praised the work as the "model, according to which all variations should be made".

Photo by Stephan Wallocha
Evgeni Koroliov, born in Moscow in 1949, is known to have an extraordinary presence in the international piano scene. Far from displaying any kind of showmanship, Koroliov fascinates his public through deep intellectual understanding of the works he performs and in whose service he puts the wide range of his artistic and interpretatory abilities.

Koroliov studied piano at the renowned Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Among his teachers were Heinrich Neuhaus, Maria Judina, Lew Oborin and Lew Naumow. He won the Grand Prix Clara Haskil (Vevey, 1977) as well as several other prizes: International Bach Competition (Leipzig, 1968), Van Cliburn Competition (Fort Worth, 1973) and International Bach Piano Competition (Toronto, 1985). He resides in Hamburg since 1978 and was Professor at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre until 2015.

His wide repertoire ranges from Baroque through Impressionism up to Messiaen and Ligeti, also having a special affinity to Bach. Evgeni Koroliov has performed at many internationally renowned venues, including: Gewandhaus Leipzig, Herkulessaal Munich, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Conservatorio Verdi Milan and Teatro Olimpico Rome. Highlights in recent years have been: Gulbenkian Foundation Lissabon, Konzerthaus Berlin and Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels.

He has given guest perfomances at the festival of the International Bach Academy Stuttgart, the Rheingau and the Schleswig-Holstein music festivals; at Settembre Musica Turin and the Festival La Roque d'Anthéron, at the Montreux and Salzburg festivals, at the Chopin Festival Warsaw, Bachfest Montréal and Budapest Spring Festival. He is also a regular guest at Ferrara Musica.

Together with Helmuth Rilling and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart he toured Germany in 2011 performing piano concerts by Bach. In 2012 he played Mozart concerts under Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St Petersburg. He has repeatedly performed with Gidon Kremers Kremerata Baltica. In the Piano Cycle of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra he was acclaimed for his rendition of Bachs "The Art of Fugue" in 2014.

Being a passionate chamber musician, Koroliov has played with colleagues such as Natalia Gutman and Mischa Maisky; the Keller Quartet and the Prazák Quartet. He performs regularly with his wife, pianist Ljupka Hadzigeorgieva, forming the Duo Koroliov.

In the Season 2015/2016 Evgeni Koroliov will play at the festival Bachwoche Ansbach and Schwetzingen Music Festival; at the Liszt Academy Budapest, Palau de la Música Barcelona, Konzerthaus Vienna and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, among others.

Evgeni Koroliov has recorded for TACET, Hänssler Classic, Profil and the label of the Hessischer Rundfunk. His performance of the "Goldberg Variations" at the Bachfest Leipzig 2008 was published by EuroArts on DVD. Koroliov has received many awards for his recordings, most recently the German Record Critics Award for a CD with solo and duo works by Bach together wit Ljupka Hadzigeorgieva, and the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) Solo Prize for his latest Schubert CD.

Source: musicontact.de

See also

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 846-869 – András Schiff

Johann Sebastian Bach: St John Passion, BWV 245 – Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook, Sophie Bevan, Tim Mead, Andrew Tortise, Konstantin Wolff, Robert Davies – Dunedin Consort, John Butt

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 – Angela Hewitt (Download 44kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)

Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo, BWV 1007-1012 – István Várdai (Audio video)

Rémi Geniet plays Johann Sebastian Bach (Download 96kHz/24bit)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Concertos Italiens – Alexandre Tharaud (Audio video)

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