(Click here to listen while you read.) We are always looking for music we can work – and write – to. So we were thrilled to learn of a free, open-source Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach, from the newly-released recording by Kimiko Ishizaka, performed on a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial piano in Berlin.

The Variations are the quintessence of improvisation. A conversation with pianist Jeremy Denk on NPR describes the piece as beginning “with an initial melody, the Aria, followed by 30 short but brilliant variations built on eight notes that Bach appears to have borrowed from Handel.”  Says Denk: “One of the most beautiful thing about the Goldbergs is that Bach uses it as a canvas in which to draw this seemingly infinite world of possibility.” 

Click here, to download or stream the entire work. 

via Open Culture

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3 replies on “music to work by: bach’s goldberg variations (free)

  1. ‘Thelonious Alone in San Francisco’ is a good record for working. I think most music with a solo instruement is suitable, so a lot J.S, Bach works for me.

  2. Glad to know about that. We’re a big fan of Monk, especially the singular Monk Plays Duke Ellington.

  3. Sally–thanks for this gift. The Bach made for easy work of a writing project I tackled today and then it took me to unanticipated places. I recalled an obscure site I’d stumbled across a couple of years ago called Sculpting Music–a thesis of a graduate student who digitally mapped the sounds of–(what else!)–a Bach cantata and two original compositions. The visuals show how my free-range brain felt today, pecking around in some beautiful places and building some good stuff.

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