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£20.00 £16.67 Ex vat

Sarah MacDonald piano

SKU: REGCD568 Categories: ,

Description

Bach’s Goldberg Variations are regarded as one of the pinnacles of the solo keyboard repertoire. This first solo piano recording by distinguished choral director, composer, pianist. and organist, Sarah MacDonald is the product of the Covid pandemic motivating her to learn, perform and record this major work. It is accompanied by her written notes on each variation in the form of diarised entries, following her personal journey through the musical, medical, professional, and social challenges that occurred over time, as the lives of us all adapted in response to Covid 19. The entries are personal, self-effacing, and include a healthy dose of humour, illustrated with examples of her talent as a keen amateur photographer.

Sarah MacDonald – recording in Ely Cathedral on the Cathedral’s own fine recent Steinway – explores the unique character of each variation, showcasing their musical depth, melodic beauty, harmonic originality, and contrapuntal ingenuity. The Cathedral’s luminous and radiant acoustic adds another dimension not usually found in recordings on the piano.

 

Track List

CD1
48:42
Aria The theme
6:03
Variation 1 A two-part invention for one manual
2:34
Variation 2 A canon at the SIXTH between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
1:50
Variation 3 A canon at the UNISON between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
2:41
Variation 4 A fugal passepied-like dance in 3/8 time, for one manual
1:25
Variation 5 The first of the two-manual movements, in two parts, and involving much hand-crossing
1:44
Variation 6 A canon at the SECOND between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
1:27
Variation 7 A stately French gigue (dance) for one manual or two, as desired by the player
3:03
Variation 8 A two-part invention for two manuals
2:36
Variation 9 A canon at the THIRD between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
2:33
Variation 10 An academic fughetta for one manual
1:58
Variation 11 A gently flowing two-part movement for two manuals
2:27
Variation 12 A canon at the FOURTH (in inversion) between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line
2:44
Variation 13 A rhapsodic slow movement with a highly ornamented melody in the soprano part
6:58
Variation 14 A virtuosic toccata for two manuals
2:45
Variation 15 A canon at the FIFTH (in inversion) between the soprano and alto parts, and in G minor
5:55
CD 2
53:09
Variation 16 A French Overture, in two sections, one grand, the other contrapuntal
4:06
Variation 17 A light-hearted and delicate two-part invention for two manuals, with lots of hand-crossing
2:44
Variation 18 A canon at the SIXTH between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
1:59
Variation 19 A graceful dance-like variation in three parts and 3/8 time
1:56
Variation 20 A virtuosic toccata in two parts for two manuals, and with various changes of texture
2:34
Variation 21 A canon at the SEVENTH between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, and in G minor
3:44
Variation 22 A fugue-like variation in four parts, for one manual
1:47
Variation 23 A mischievous variation where the hands chase each other around the two keyboards
2:43
Variation 24 A canon at the OCTAVE, between the soprano and alto parts, over a bass line, for one manual
3:28
10 Variation 25 An intensely chromatic and introspectively beautiful aria for the right hand
7:42
Variation 26 A dazzling (and difficult) toccata for two manuals
2:31
Variation 27 A canon at the NINTH between the two hands (the only canon without a bass part)
2:20
Variation 28 The hashtag “practise your left hand trills” was invented especially for this variation
2:45
Variation 29 A triumphant and improvisatory toccata which explores various textures
2:45
Variation 30 A ‘quodlibet’, incorporating at least two German folk songs, and probably intended as a joke, (especially as one of the folk songs is about cabbages), but having extraordinary nostalgic power coming where it does at the end of this tour-de-force.
3:21
Aria da capo
6:44

Total playing time: 1:41:51

Production credits

Recorded in Ely Cathedral on 27/28 October, 1/2 and 11/12 November 2021

Producer and engineer: Gary Cole.

Recording assistant: Pippa Cole

Piano: Steinway Model D, No 545204 Tuned and maintained by Marcel Kunkel www.cambridgepianoforte.com

Sample audio extracts

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