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piano recital


Sergei Babayan brings Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations to the Église de Verbier with his rare and refreshing approach that poetically transforms audiences from the opening aria to the last.

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Published in 1741, Bach’s Goldberg Variations stand as one of the most supreme combinations of architectural symmetry and high expression in the pianistic canon. Sitting at each end is the same 32-bar aria, divided into two 16-bar halves, whose bass line feeds the 30 intervening variations, whose own second half is trumpeted by the distinctiveness of No 16 – a French overture in the style of Bach’s orchestral suites. Meanwhile each of the set’s two fugues, nos 10 & 22, sits six bars from the centre; and each of its canons – nos 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27 – is one interval higher than the last. Expressive landmarks towards the climax include intense G minor aria No 25. Then No 28’s dizzying, delicately leaping octaves and trilling inner parts, matched in virtuosity by No 29’s chords and tumbling cascades, before the warmest return to earth via No 30’s folk song medley. When the Aria reappears, we’re hearing it entirely differently.