Sonata for 2 violins & continuo in B flat major
Sonata for 2 violins & continuo in G minor
Sonata for 2 violins, viola & continuo in C minor
Sonata for 2 violins & continuo in A minor
Sonata for 2 violins & continuo in C major (formerly attirbuted to Bach, BWV 1037)
Most classical listeners are well acquainted with Johann Sebastian Bach's "Goldberg Variations," but the Goldberg of the title is likely unknown to them. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg was a talented young musician who most likely studied with Bach and his son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and was probably employed by Count Kaiserling, who commissioned the "Goldberg Variations" to be played during his sleepless nights. While Goldberg was indeed a talented performer, and presumably able to play Bach's demanding work for the Count, his achievements as a composer were modest. The handful of his works that survive include two cantatas, two harpsichord concertos, keyboard pieces, and the five chamber sonatas on this Bridge release from Jörg-Michael Schwarz and the period group Rebel. Goldberg's knack for vigorous counterpoint and expressive harmonies is readily apparent, but the sonatas tend toward conventional forms that offer few surprises. If these sonatas appeal to modern listeners, credit is due to Rebel and Schwarz, who play them with refinement and energy, and give them the liveliness and freshness that make the performances memorable, even if the music is a bit formulaic.
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Johann Gottlieb Goldberg: Beyond the Variations - Chamber Music for Strings & Basso Continuo based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
There here are two things I can count on with a Rebel release. First, it won't be the usual early music fare. Second, it will have performances that command my attention. "Johann Gottlieb Goldberg: Beyond the Variations" runs true to form. There's a story behind that title. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is indeed the Goldberg of Bach's Aria with 30 Variations, BWV 998. While the story of Goldberg's involvement with the creation and performance of the "Goldberg" Variations might be questionable, scholars agree there's a strong connection between Goldberg and Bach. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg was a virtuoso keyboardist as well as a composer (and only 14 when Bach composed the variations). He did study with JS Bach, and later his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. Like that of W.F. Bach, Goldberg's music looks back to the baroque rather than forward to the classical. Especially impressive in this set of sonatas is Goldberg's use of counterpoint -- he learned well from his mentors. And while his style resembles that of J.S. Bach, it's not imitative. Goldberg's melodies have a different and sometimes simpler shape to them than Bach's. Rebel infuses these works with energy, delivering enthusiastic performances. It's difficult to describe. Perhaps it was the lightness of the basso continuo playing or the way the violins dug into the trills and mordants -- I can't say precisely. But I did get the impression that these musicians were having fun with this music. And that made for a pleasurable listening experience. There are two things I can count on with a Rebel release. They were both present in this release.