In March 2020 Lang Lang gave only his second ever live performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Leipzig’s historic St Thomas Church where the composer worked and is now buried. “Playing in St Thomas’ Church, where Bach is buried, was unbelievably emotional for me,” recalled the superstar pianist. “I’ve never felt as close to a composer as I did during that recital.” Lang Lang is now giving fans the opportunity to experience the unique atmosphere of that live recital through a special streamed concert on DG Stage, taking place on Thursday 19 November at 8pm CET and available online for 48 hours after the event – buy your ticket now! Watch Lang Lang performing Variation 30, Quodlibet, from Bach’s Goldberg Variations at St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig.
Lang Lang has realised his lifelong dream by recording Bach’s Goldberg Variations
Lang Lang studied Bach’s iconic composition for 20 years before finally realising his lifelong dream by recording the Goldberg Variations. He has released two complementary performances of the Goldberg Variations: a studio recording and a live performance recorded at St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig. The two recordings can be purchased together as a super deluxe edition, the first simultaneous live and studio album release for the Goldbergs, offering fascinating insights into the art of interpretation.
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’.
Goldberg Variations Extended Edition includes seven bonus tracks
Lang Lang will release a series of new recordings from his forthcoming Goldberg Variations Extended Edition, which will be digitally released on 12 February 2021. The new version of his acclaimed recording includes seven bonus tracks – four of which will be digitally released on Friday 20 November.
“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,” explained Lang Lang. “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.”
Four new tracks released on 20 November
The four new tracks being released on 20 November are 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.
A fifth single, Arabesque by Robert Schumann, will be digitally released on 15 January 2021. The extended edition will also include a contemplative arrangement of Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze which Lang Lang has recorded with his wife, the German-Korean pianist Gina Alice, and the ‘Andante’ from Johann Gottlieb Goldberg’s Sonata in D major.
Lang Lang’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations has received international acclaim since it was released in September. Gramophone described it as “the musical equivalent of a cinematic epic”, ArtsJournal in the United States declared the release “is easily his finest achievement” and, in London, The Times praised Lang Lang as “a mature and individual performer, fully engaged with Bach’s genius”.
Watch Lang Lang performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations from St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig on Thursday 19 November at 8pm CET on DG Stage.