It was only a matter of time. Víkingur Ólafsson, celebrated for his visionary interpretations of J.S. Bach, and one of the greatest pianists and musical minds of today, now takes on Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. The opening Aria is now available to hear.
The album, to be released in October 2023 on the Deutsche Grammophon label, follows Ólafsson’s hugely successful DG recording of works by Johann Sebastian Bach in 2018, which won BBC Music magazine’s Album of the Year, Opus Klassik’s Solo Recital award, numerous other accolades which led to him being named Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year. Now Ólafsson brings his unique musical vision, and meticulous recorded sound to Bach’s masterpiece. It is the first time Ólafsson records a complete work and he begins with one of the most demanding in the piano repertoire.
Ólafsson dedicates his 2023-24 season to a Goldberg Variations world tour, performing the work across six continents throughout the year in major concert halls including London’s Southbank Centre, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie de Paris, Philharmonie Berlin, Harpa Concert Hall, LA’s Walt Disney Hall, Sala São Paulo, Shanghai Symphony Hall, Tonhalle Zurich, KKL Luzern, Alte Oper Frankfurt and Mupa Budapest, with other dates to be announced.
“The Goldberg Variations contain some of the most virtuosic keyboard music ever written, some of the most astonishingly brilliant uses of counterpoint in the repertoire and countless instances of exalted poetry, abstract contemplation and deep pathos – all within immaculately shaped structures of formal perfection. In 30 variations, built on the humble harmonic framework of a simple, graceful aria, Bach turns limited material into boundless variety like no one before or since. He is the greatest keyboard virtuoso of his time.” comments Víkingur Ólafsson.
Víkingur Ólafsson’s other recordings for Deutsche Grammophon comprise Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018), Debussy Rameau (2020), Mozart & Contemporaries (2021) and From Afar (2022).
Album details: Víkingur Ólafsson releases J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations/ (Deutsche Grammophon, 6 October 2023)
Read about Ólafsson’s 2022 release From Afar