Friday, September 04, 2015

The Goldberg Variations: changing the world for 70 minutes

András Schiff plays Bach at the Proms. Photo: Chris Christodoulou

If we didn't have the BBC, guys, we wouldn't have this: András Schiff playing the Bach Goldberg Variations at the Proms, fabulously filmed, televised yesterday and available to watch on the iPlayer
for 29 more days, here. I was away in Switzerland on the day itself, 22 August, and am glad to be able to experience it after the event.

It's playing in which not just mastery but wisdom, balance and humanity shines out of every note of this intimate music, in which the Royal Albert Hall is somehow transformed into András's living room - and in which a state of grace seems to surround the pianist and, with him, us, the listeners. In the introductory interview with Kirsty Wark, András explains that it doesn't matter whether or not you are an atheist or religious, or in what way; Bach was, and you have to enter that zone if you're going to play his music. In he goes. And during those 70 minutes of the Bach's duration, the world changes.

Do yourself a favour. Hear it today. 

UPDATE: The filmed version of this performance is unfortunately not available outside the UK, but readers overseas should hopefully be able to access the audio-only recording on the iPlayer, here: