Johann Sebastian Bach had a pupil by the name of Johann Gottlieb Goldberg who studied clavier with him from 1733-1746. Goldberg was one of the most remarkable clavier players in Germany. Bach proclaimed him to be his most clever and industrious pupil. Goldberg was able to sight read the most difficult music put before him and was extrordinary at improvisation. Goldberg was brought to Bach by the Russian ambassador, Count Kaiserling, for lessons. While just a teenager, Goldberg was employed by the Count to play clavier music. The Count suffered from insomnia. At the request of Count Kaiserling, Bach was asked to compose music that Goldberg would play to lull the Count to sleep. Bach composed thirty variations that are known as “The Goldberg Variations.” The grateful Count Kaiserling paid Bach with a golden goblet and 100 louis d’or coins. (“Music for Sleepless Nights“
I’m happy to report that these worked as intended, for while it had been my intention to wake up, I fell back to sleep. It was not unpleasant.
- Classical music: To mark J.S. Bach’s 327th birthday, NPR spends a full week examining the “Goldberg” Variations from Handel to Hannibal Lecter. It is an astounding work of appreciation and analysis.
- Happy 327th Birthday Johann Sebastian Bach!
- Video – How a Bach Canon Works
- Janet Sung returns to perform the works of Bach
- Music Review: Fretwork – Bach: Goldberg Variations
- Happy Birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach!
- Dan Tepfer: Goldberg Variations / Variations (Review)