What a coincidence, I am currently listening Vikingur Olafsson’s rendition of the Goldberg Variations.

Love the GVs. Ito Ema version on MA recordings is very good. I recall reading that Goldberg commissioned them from Bach to help him sleep. 

I recall reading that Goldberg commissioned them from Bach to help him sleep. 

I've heard that, too. But when I listen to all of them, some seem more like songs to wake a person up.

Supposedly they were written to entertain someone who could NOT sleep:

"The urban myth surrounding the variations is that they were played by Goldberg to Count Kaiserling, former Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony, who was often ill and suffered from insomnia as a consequence. Goldberg played Bach’s variations to the Count to assuage his sleeplessness and to entertain him during the wee small hours."

Then again, it's all just fun gossip because there's not enough evidence. But it's a great piece.


I wish your friend luck, but there must be several hundred other recordings out there.  The music in endlessly inventive and fascinating 

Not on Qobuz....I can't figure a way to get it onto my system...still working on it.

Yes, I am aware that there's thousands of recordings of these works, but if your friends don't plug you, who will? :)

I read recently that the true creative impetus was that at the time, Bach was under attack by a prominent music academic for unnecessary complexity in his music, and JSB wanted to show that his contrapuntal mastery could be woven into music that was accessible.  He seems to have succeeded admirably.

  There is some irony in the notion that an eighteenth century academic would criticize a composer for not having the common touch.  We are more used to the twentieth century scenario where academics would excoriate composers that had any popular following for not being intellectually rigorous.

  My favorite recording is an obscure one by by Sergei Schepkin from the early nineties on the Ongaku label.

  What instrument do people prefer?  Harpsichord?  Clavichord?  Piano?  String Quartet?  Brass Quintet?

I know Schepkin and his is a genius with his own internal rythm , very original...Any other of his Bach are a treasure because nobody played that as he did in some case it is unbelievable ...

I prefer for the Goldberg the Version of Feltsman though spontaneous almost improvisation flows in his arrival in Moscow after the Wall destruction ... But i could live with Schepkin heart rythm ...In the same way the Klavier well tempered of Feltsman beat even the perfect Schiff version i like too ...Feltsman add emotions to mere perfection ...It win the heart .... And his clarity rival the Schiff mastery ...

I suggested strongly everyone to try the Goldberg transcription for strings trio buy if you can the Sitkovesky transcription played by himself on Orfeo ...My best even if some others do well ..Many versions here too ...... Amazing ...I like any version of the Goldberg played by nevermind who ...😊

It is the only works of Bach competing with the Brandenburg and Klavier concertos and beating them for their irresistible internal pulse toward enthusiasm ectasy ...Incredible ...Who know someone hating the Goldberg ?

There is no limits to interesting version or transcription of the Goldberg and of the art of the fugue, i own 25 ? ... I am more limited for the Brandenburg and the Ouvertures, here Hogwood so perfectly timed version in spite of some defects in period instrument playings in the beginnings is my only one coming back, and Savall perfectly played instruments and timing one for the Ouvertures destructed all other choices for me ...


My favorite recording is an obscure one by by Sergei Schepkin from the early nineties on the Ongaku label.

Whenever I hear these older pieces of music, I always think that this is possibly the closest we can get to the true history of the past. Anything written by historians can easily have been colored by the writers or whoever hired them to write. Painters made people look better, lest they face unpleasant results. But the notes are there. Exactly as they were when written. Yes, the instruments were often different and the interpretations vary, but it’s still a true look at the past. At least as close as we can reliably get. 

@chayro Then don’t try to look into ancient music ensembles... you’ll learn far too much about how music changes over time, including how instruments themselves have changed.

Also, look into the history, especially the research over the past 20 years on the Well Tempered Clavier.

Great to find another admirer of Sergei Schepkin.  I also have all of his Bach recordings.  Other piano recordings in my collection are Perahia, Schiff, Dinnerstein, and Andrezewsi.  I recently picked a Claudio Arrau from the early forties but haven’t got around to listening to it.  On harpsichord Gustav Leonhardt, and also the Sitkovitsky Trio and a brass quintet that has gone missing from the CD shelves