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The Goldberg Variations are a towering pillar of the piano canon – an 80 minute journey into clarity, beauty, spirituality and form which purifies the listener's mind and soul. Around the bass line of a simple Aria in G Major, Bach spins an encyclopaedia of variations spanning an impressive array of stylistic disciplines – from a lively baroque dance to a stern fugue, from intense two-part melodies to virtuoso keyboard flourishes.
The work has become a benchmark for pianists, and many a master pianist has been ranked based on The Goldberg Variations. And so we come to Igor Levit, whose 2016 recording of the work won Gramophone Magazine's "Recording of the year" award. At the age of just 30, Levit has thus established himself at the top of the piano elite in record time, not least thanks to his Goldberg Variations, which prompted the Danish media to dub him "classical music's new superhero".
Johann Sebastian Bach: The Goldberg Variations