Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741) 51′
Abel Tomàs, violin
Jonathan Brown, viola
Arnau Tomàs, cello
The Goldberg Variations are a colossal sonic monument, an architectural gem that reveals the intellectual rigor of Johann Sebastian Bach. Originally written for harpsichord with two manuals, all kinds of adaptations have been made throughout history, such as the transcription for string trio that will be performed by Abel Tomàs, Jonathan Brown and Arnau Tomàs, members of the Cuarteto Casals. Bach composed them in 1741 following a commission from Count Kaiserling, the Russian ambassador in Saxony, who wanted to dedicate them to the court harpsichordist, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. Unlike other variations, these are not based on the treatment of an initial melody, but on the development of a harmonic structure, the bass line, which brings together all the parts of the work. The opening aria of the work is followed by thirty variations, grouped in ten groups of three and with a final quodlibet, which precedes the culminating reprise of the beginning aria. They are part of the Clavier-Übung, an anthology that brings together some of Bach’s most technical works.