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PBO Goldbergs vary from the traditional

  • May 2, 2012
As part of the Oregon Bach Festival’s multi-faceted exploration of Bach’s Goldberg Variations this summer, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, directed by Monica Huggett, presents the revered variations in a brand new way. Beginning June 30, the four-city tour will strike its first chord in Astoria, followed by Corvallis on July 1, Eugene on July 2, and Lincoln City on July 3. [caption id="attachment_7510" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Monica Huggett directs the Portland Baroque Orchestra's "Goldbergs""][/caption] This exciting string ensemble version, arranged by Russian violinist and conductor Dmitri Sitkovetsky, is quite a variation from the traditional work, originally composed for a single harpsichord performer. “The variations turn out to be quite well suited for string instruments,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, John Adams, in his program notes for the piece. “Such a recasting sheds new light on the music by drawing out expressive elements that previously could only be hinted at when played on a harpsichord or even a modern piano.” With 30 complex variations, each movement seemingly more complex than the last, the piece is famously inventive and considered to be an exceptional example of the variation form of composing. So powerful is the work that the Festival is celebrating it not only with the tour, but with other concerts, panel discussions and films as well. The spark igniting the flame of this year’s Goldberg extravaganza is the double birth and death anniversaries of enigmatic pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982), who was passionate about Bach’s work and was closely associated with the Goldberg variations during his life. The Eugene performance of the Goldberg Variations, sponsored by Valley River Inn, begins at 7:30 PM in Beall Concert Hall. Tickets range from $15 to $45 for the general public (youth tickets are $10) and can be purchased online at oregonbachfestival.com/tickets. The Goldberg Variations four-city tour is made possible through support from Oregon Public Broadcasting and a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust.