Bach's Goldberg Variations

Bach's Goldberg Variations

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by Anna Harwell Celenza, Joann E. Kitchel
     
 

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Johann Sebastian Bach created some of the most significant music in history, including A Keyboard Practice Consisting of an Aria with Thirty Variations for the Harpsichord—commonly known as the Goldberg Variations. Goldberg is Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, a young musician in the court of Count Keyserlingk, a Russian ambassador living in Dresden. It

Overview

Johann Sebastian Bach created some of the most significant music in history, including A Keyboard Practice Consisting of an Aria with Thirty Variations for the Harpsichord—commonly known as the Goldberg Variations. Goldberg is Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, a young musician in the court of Count Keyserlingk, a Russian ambassador living in Dresden. It isn’t known for certain why Bach’s difficult composition was named for the young man, but Anna Harwell Celenza gives us one possible story based on extensive research.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bach's Goldberg Variations by Anna Harwell Celenza, illus. by JoAnn Celenza, picks up on the musical successes of this duo's Farewell Symphony and Heroic Symphony. The book opens as Bach introduces a potential benefactor to 10-year-old prodigy Johann Gottlieb Goldberg; the boy goes to live with Count Keyserlingk, and his ever more challenging musical requests prompt the boy to seek help from Bach, who meets his needs with the title piece, included on a CD recording. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This fictional account surrounding the composition and naming of one of Bach's most famous musical works tells the story of Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, an orphan who is one of the composer's students. When the boy becomes a servant for Count Keyserlingk, he has no time to practice during the day, so he practices in the middle of the night. One night, the Count hears him and urges him to learn a new piece every week; first one filled with energy, then a canon, then a piece "with everything." Desperate, the boy turns to his teacher, who plays his "Variations," a complex composition that has a musical "riddle" hidden within it. The child practices it faithfully and by the end of the week, he plays it for the Count, who is so delighted that he names Goldberg the Court's official harpsichordist and often calls out to him, "Goldberg! Play your variations!" A note explains that the origins of the piece are unclear, but it is known that Bach visited the count in Dresden in 1741 and shortly thereafter Goldberg began playing this composition. This accessible and readable story will lead young readers to find out more about both Bach and his young student. The watercolor illustrations, filled with period touches, give the lad an appealing personality as he struggles with his chores and his music. The four cherubs who adorn many of the pages add to the 18th-century tone as they echo both the sentiments and the music on the page.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570915109
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/2005
Edition description:
hardcover w/CD
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.38(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Anna Harwell Celenza is a musicologist and the author of several books for adults and children regarding music history and the history of art. Her children’s books include THE FAREWELL SYMPHONY, PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION, GERSHWIN'S RHAPSODY IN BLUE, and VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS. Anna lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Bach's Goldberg Variations 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Henry_Berry More than 1 year ago
The legendary-like story behind Bach's immortal 'Goldberg Variations' is told accompanied with fancy, often baroque-like illustrations with golden touches. The musically-talented orphan Johann Gottlieb Goldberg was taken in by a German Count. The Count directs him to play something new for him each week; and then later calls on him to do a 'piece filled with dances and difficult runs...canons and something quite new...[and] a surprise that will trick me.' To meet this demanding challenge, Johann has to turn to his mentor Bach, whose composition in answer to the Count's demand later came to be named after the orphan. The orphan Johann remains the focus of the tale, with Bach giving him musical information and guidance so that readers learn something about the technicalities and style of the 'Goldberg Variations.' Ages 4-7.