I was so excited when I enjoyed the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould, which is one of the most successful pianists. He was absorbed in the whole work when he played. It is said by most people that Bach’s music is the spirit wealth of human. It is consists of an Aria and 30 variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. Although the 30 variations are with a similar bass line, these 30 variations are lively and crisp, slow and very soft. From this music, I can feel that Bach just want this music work to be simple and fun for the audiences. These variations are colorful and exciting for audiences to enjoy. When I enjoy this music, I find out that half of these variations are exciting and lively, but half are slow and dark. The follow parts will analyze four variations which I am interested so much.

The Aria is gentle, gloomy and poetic. When I heard of the Aria, I felt depressed with the gloomy and dark feelings. However, it is beautiful and sweet to make me feel very relax. It seems that the Aria is to foreshadow the spirit of the whole music work with the tenderness and calm. In addition, the solemnity of the fundamental bass is conveyed at the initial appearance. The successful Aria set a solid foundation for the following variations.

The Aria refers to a sarabande with exquisite ornaments. When I heard of this Aria, I feel that this work is filled with real delicacy and emotion. The audiences can feel Bach’s sadness in his heart, which was demonstrated well by Glenn Gould. Additionally, the musical structure of this aria is the basic for the following structure of 30 variations: A(8+8)+B(8+8). The following 30 variations are not the direct deduction of the theme, but the deduction “bass line” of the theme variations.


The first variation is full of rippling and cheerful atmosphere, which is different from the dark and gloomy Aria since nothing could better indicate the aloof carriage of the Aria, than the precipitous burst of variation 1. All the trills are very crisp to demonstrate a lyricism. The first section of the left hand jumping and rhythm in Bach music often used to express joy. The cross hands playing technique are also impressive for me. Through a close feeling of dance, 12/8 duration implies simple and pastoral emotions. Since he only use one hand to play the voices which are very close, so how to transfer the complex staggered clearly and completely to the audiences is a challenge for all pianists. The Variation 1 sounds like a festive gateway, which lead the audiences into the inner world of this work demonstrated in the following three variations.


After the variation 4, this quiet lyricism was interrupted by the swiftness of the first arabesque Var5. The Fifth variation sounds very happy and joyful. In this variation, Glenn used a typical Italy playing approach-a hand sometimes jump over another. Music began from the left hand and then the right hand played the counterpoint of Bach inversion. With the continuous scale, I am shocked by Glenn Gould’s skilled hands. This piece of music sounds like the burst out of an irrepressible joy. Before the next song Toccata comes, we obtain a calm space in the Fifth variation.


The second half opens with majestic French Overture: the opening piece of the part two, which was followed by lightest arabesque variations. This variation which is filled with grand atmosphere started the second part of “Goteborg” of the second half. This variation is divided into two sections: the first is the continuous scale grand, glorious vibrato and intense rhythm-until the dominant mode of the sixteenth section then the repetition is more rapid in the Fugue segment.

It is impossible for me to learn the whole facets of this work. I think what I have learned from this work is so limited since I am not so familiar with the playing skills. However, I still can realize about Bach’s view of this world and his faith. The whole work like the life of human and the different variations seems like the different periods of life which is filled of happiness and sorrow. Since each of the variation is different from others, I think this is the great place of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. After I have heard of this work, I believe that art has the power to improve one’s spirit.