Last week in honor of Bach's birthday NPR declared it "Goldberg Week", honoring the enthralling and eternally puzzling Goldberg Variations.
The Variations are a work to be performed on a harpsichord, consisting of an aria and 30 variations that were originally published in 1741. The variations take you on a maze-like journey through schizophrenic sounds, as pianist Jeremy Denk said, "it's as if the Goldbergs took LSD."
Denk continues to explain: "The piece is about enormous replication, about the generation of infinite possibility from a single piece of code." The entire variations is composed of eight notes supposedly borrowed from Handel, altered in rhythm, harmony, melody... basically, they are remixed.
The variations have captivated classical music buffs for centuries. They have been covered and remixed countlessly, adding to Bach's already intense proliferation of those eight original notes. In honor of NPR's coverage and of Bach as the original DJ we decided to show our favorite YouTube videos of Goldberg Variations. Some are more traditional, others get a bit weird, but all present a quick way to embark on what is sure to be a lifelong obsession.
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