An early evening concert of Bach’s Goldberg Variations took place in front of a packed and enthusiastic Pavilion Room audience last Friday (5th of June), played by harpsichordist Dan Tidhar on a splendid instrument by Colin Booth, based on a double-manual French harpsichord of 1769. At the opening of the concert Dan gave a brief introduction, demonstrating the variety of sounds possible using the two manuals independently or together, as well as the delicate lute stop – all combinations of which he incorporated into the subsequent performance of Bach’s magnificent work.
Considered among the most original and monumental works of the keyboard repertoire, the Goldberg Variations put great technical demands on the performer and are a virtuosic tour de force, written at the height of the composer’s artistic creativity.
Dan Tidhar’s intelligent and sensitive approach explored a wide range of moods and sonorities with clear understanding, drawing on the practice of the time of adding embellishments and ornamentation to repeated sections in the nine canons which punctuate the 30 variations – much to the pleasure and admiration of the audience. Altogether this was a most enjoyable evening, and the college very much looks forward to welcoming Dan back to perform again at some point next year.
This concert was the last of the current academic year, but plans are well underway for next year’s series, details of which will be available soon on the music page of the college website as well as in the forthcoming college calendar.