Jan 13, 2017
BWV 988 Goldberg Variations 18 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
|The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer.|
Baroque Era. Solo Guitar. Drop D tuning. 2/2 time signature. Key of G major. 3 pages 31 bars.
This is a canon at the sixth in 2/2 time. The canonic interplay in the upper voices features many suspensions. Commenting on the structure of the canons of the Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould cited this variation as the extreme example of “deliberate duality of motivic emphasis […] the canonic voices are called upon to sustain the passacaille role which is capriciously abandoned by the bass.” Nicholas Kenyon calls Variation 18 “an imperious, totally confident movement which must be among the most supremely logical pieces of music ever written, with the strict imitation to the half-bar providing ideal impetus and a sense of climax.”