Tuesday 26 May 2020

The Goldberg Variations: Meditations in Solitude

Trailer 1: Goldberg Variations with Simon Russell Beale from Greengage Ventures on Vimeo.

The conductor Jonathan Berman has been busy during his period of enforced idleness. Berman has curated, directed and produced a film of Bach's Goldberg Variations which combines Bach's music, played by the Ysaye Trio (Willem Stam - cello, Emlyn Stam - viola, Rada Ovcharova - violin) in their own arrangment of the music for string trio, interspersed with poems that illuminate unusual angles on solitude from 19 authors ranging from Wordsworth, Keats and Woolf to Rilke and Hesse, read by Sir Simon Russell Beale, and photographs by the Austrian artist Kristina Feldhammer.

The project is released 31 May 2020, but there is a chance to see it early as there is a preview event on 27 May 2020 which includes a screening and a Q&A with the artists. The preview is pay what you will, with 20% of funds raised going to the Royal Society of Musicians and the remainder to the artists. Details from EventBrite.

Earlier this year, Berman was in the studio with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales recording Symphony No. 1 by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Schmidt (1874-1934), as part of Berman's project to record all of Schmidt's four symphonies in time for the 150 anniversary of Schmidt's birth in 2024. The first recording will be issued by Accentus later in the year, and there is a preview on YouTube.

Berman has also created a website, Stand Together Music, which highlights the performances which have been cancelled due to the lockdown.

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