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13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg: Bach Reimagined

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, its title riffing not only on Bach's "Goldberg Variations, BWV 988," but also on the Wallace Stevens poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," is a collection of new variations on Bach's aria theme, contributed by a variety of leading American composers. Part of the praise due to American pianist Lara Downes is logistical: she coaxed works out of some very busy composers, with the commissions going out in 2004 and the final album release not coming until 2011. The composers span at least two generations, and Lukas Foss died before the project could be realized. As such, the 13 variations provide not only 13 ways of looking at Bach's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, its title riffing not only on Bach's "Goldberg Variations, BWV 988," but also on the Wallace Stevens poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," is a collection of new variations on Bach's aria theme, contributed by a variety of leading American composers. Part of the praise due to American pianist Lara Downes is logistical: she coaxed works out of some very busy composers, with the commissions going out in 2004 and the final album release not coming until 2011. The composers span at least two generations, and Lukas Foss died before the project could be realized. As such, the 13 variations provide not only 13 ways of looking at Bach's variations but 13 views of the contemporary scene and of the grounding in Bachian technique that almost all contemporary composers share. There are few passages of outright atonality; even the theory-oriented Fred Lerdahl contributes a lighthearted "Chasing Goldberg" variation. With some of them reacting to Bach's theme, others to specific "Goldberg Variations," and yet others to the general mood of Bach's work, it's remarkable how many of the composers managed to get their own personalities into this rather strict format. Sample Jennifer Higdon's "The Gilmore Variation" track 3, which broadens out at the end into one of this composer's crowd-pleasing gestures without losing its Bachian thread. The variations are ordered into a reasonable sequence by Gilmore, running as Bach's do from straightforward to distantly related, and the idea of looking outward to larger Bachian works at the end of the program with pieces by Foss and Dave Brubeck was a good one. This would make an ideal gift for any of the numerous obsessive lovers of the "Goldberg Variations."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2011
  • Label: Cd Baby
  • UPC: 884501591409
  • Catalog Number: 59140
  • Sales rank: 173,075

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lara Downes Primary Artist, Piano
Technical Credits
William Bolcom Composer
Dave Brubeck Composer
Fred Hersch Composer
Wallace Stevens Poetry
Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Jennifer Higdon Composer
Joseph Patrych Engineer
Bright Sheng Composer
Stanley Walden Composer
Lukas Foss Composer
Lara Downes Producer, Liner Notes
Ralf Gothóni Composer
Derek Bermel Composer
Fred Lerdahl Composer
Mischa Zupko Composer
Curtis Curtis-Smith Composer
Ryan Brown Composer
David Del Tredici Composer
Lydia Weber Art Direction
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