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Classical News

Lang Lang ‘Goldberg Variations’ Extended Edition Out Now

Superstar pianist Lang Lang has digitally released a new Extended Edition of Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ featuring seven bonus tracks.

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Lang Lang photo at piano
Lang Lang. Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Stefan Hoederath

Following the worldwide success of his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations superstar pianist Lang Lang today digitally released a new Extended Edition featuring seven bonus tracks. He explained, “The more time I spent with the Goldberg Variations, the more I wanted to know about Bach, his contemporaries and the composers he later inspired. Each of the new pieces I’ve recorded for this project have added to my understanding of his music.”

Features seven bonus tracks

The seven bonus tracks featured on the Extended Edition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations include Bist Du Bei Mir, an aria by Bach’s slightly younger contemporary Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel which appears in transcription in the Anna Magdalena Notebook, an arrangement of the ‘Sinfonia’ from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Wilhelm Kempff’s transcription for solo piano of the ‘Siciliano’ from Bach’s Second Flute Sonata and the ‘Andante’ from Bach’s Italian Concerto. Lang Lang has also chosen the Arabesque by Schumann, who looked to his predecessors for inspiration and saw Bach’s music as the purest source of strength, a contemplative arrangement of Sheep May Safely Graze, which he recorded with his wife, the German-Korean pianist Gina Alice, and the ‘Andante’ from Johann Gottlieb Goldberg’s Sonata in D major, as he studied the surviving music of the eponymous harpsichordist and composer during his long years of studying Bach’s monumental work.

Lang Lang noted, “From a vocal number by Stölzel that was obviously popular in the Bach household and a work by the young Goldberg himself, to a beautiful miniature by Schumann – who loved and studied Bach throughout his life – via solo piano arrangements of some of Bach’s loveliest vocal and instrumental writing, all seven of the pieces I’ve just recorded as part of this project have added to my understanding of his music.”

“A masterpiece”

The digital Extended Edition is a companion to the album featuring Lang Lang’s studio and live recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The recording has received international acclaim since it was released in September 2020. Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany described the album as, “A masterpiece”, The Telegraph in the UK announced it was, “Utterly wonderful”, and ArtsJournal in the United States declared the release “is easily his finest achievement”.

Bach’s Goldberg Variations is one of the greatest works ever written for the keyboard and demands total spiritual focus from the performer. The collection was first published in 1741 and consists of 30 variations, introduced and concluded by a single ‘aria’.

“This is the most creative and multidimensional work in the keyboard repertoire, it is also deeply emotional and goes straight to the heart,” observed Lang Lang. “It allows us to draw on everything we have within ourselves, but also makes us realise what’s missing and what we still have to learn.”

Lang Lang’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations can be bought here.

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Format: UK English
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