Press Release: LD presents The Goldberg Variations

Experience Bach’s masterpiece The Goldberg Variations Feb. 11 & 18 performed by harpsichordist Mark Edwards

Harpsichordist and organist Mark Edwards, a core member of chamber music ensemble Les Délices, is internationally recognized for his captivating performances, bringing the listener “to new and unpredictable regions, using all of the resources of his instrument…of his virtuosity, and of his imagination” (La Libre Belgique). This February 11th in Hudson and 18th in Cleveland Heights, LD’s favorite harpsichordist performs Bach’s The Goldberg Variations. Audiences will have a further opportunity to explore Bach’s keyboard masterpiece at a related free event hosted at Heights Theater on Feb. 17th. During Inside the Goldbergs, along with performing musical excerpts, Mark Edwards and pianist Dror Biran will discuss issues of performance practice, the work’s technical challenges, and their personal histories with the Variations(More details below.)

A rare opportunity to hear a world-renowned harpsichordist in solo recital

First-prize winner of the Musica Antiqua Bruges International Harpsichord Competition, Mark Edwards has given solo recitals at a number of prominent festivals and concert series, including the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Bozar (Brussels), and the Montreal Baroque Festival. He has had concerto performances with a number of award-winning ensembles, including Il Gardellino (Belgium), Neobarock (Germany), Ensemble Caprice (Canada), and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Edwards is a core member of Les Délices and The Goldberg Variations marks the first time the group has presented a harpsichord solo recital. LD Artistic Director Debra Nagy added, “Mark is such a spectacular musician and innovative artist and we don’t get enough opportunities to have him step out as a soloist. Notably, Mark is also a gifted improviser; he’s promised to improvise an additional variation or two on Bach’s famous Goldberg bass line.”

 

RELATED FREE EVENT – SalonEra Session: Inside the Goldbergs at Heights Theater on February 17th, 2024

Les Délices presents another LIVE, free SalonEra experience with Inside the Goldbergs featuring Mark Edwards and pianist Dror Biran. In this 75-minute concert and conversation – including images from a rare first-edition of the Goldberg Variations and live video of the keyboard – audiences will gain insights in Bach’s monumental work as we consider the unique challenges and opportunities that Bach’s music has for us all. This event is presented in collaboration with the Riemenschneider Bach Institute at Baldwin Wallace University and Piano Cleveland.

SalonEra Sessions are a new initiative from SalonEra during the 2023-24 season. Admission to this event is free; no tickets or pre-registration are required. This event will be recorded, edited, and released as a SalonEra episode on March 25, 2024. 

The Goldberg Variations: an enigmatic masterpiece 

J.S. Bach’s The Goldberg Variations, first published in 1741, is an enduring cornerstone of the keyboard repertoire. This monumental work has inspired generations of pianists and harpsichordists not only for the technical virtuosity it demands but also for the pathos, ingenious counterpoint, and formal perfection of its aria and thirty variations. Mark Edwards has been probing the structural intricacies of the work since he first started playing harpsichord in college. Most recently, Edwards recorded the Variations on eight different harpsichords from Oberlin’s keyboard collection for a forthcoming album on the Naxos label.

A tour de force, public performances of the complete Goldberg Variations have been likened to a musical summiting of Mount Everest. In preparing the Goldberg Variations for a complete, live performance, Edwards must consider pacing, how the variations connect one to the next even as they each typify a different genre of 18th century music-making, including canons, gigues, fugues, arias and dances. Within each variation, Edwards is focused on turning the audience’s ear to different melodic lines buried within the often dense, wildly inventive counterpoint.

Northeast Ohio audiences won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to hear Mark Edwards’ compelling, artful performances February 11 in Hudson and Feb. 18th in Cleveland Heights.

Single tickets to Feb. 11 and 18 performances of The Goldberg Variations ($28-$45-$10) are on sale now via the Les Délices website. Tickets also be purchased as part of a Flex Pack Subscription. Access to the Feb. 11 Goldberg performance in Hudson is included in the Akron Subscription Package.

EVENT DETAILS:

WHAT: The Goldberg Variations
Award-winning harpsichordist Mark Edwards performs Bach’s enigmatic masterwork for keyboard: The Goldberg Variations

TWO PERFORMANCES:
February 11, 2024 at 4:00 pm, First Congregational Church of Hudson, 47 Aurora Street, Hudson
February 18, 2024 at 4:00 pm, Heights Theater, 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland Heights

PLUS A SPECIAL FREE EVENT
SalonEra Session: Inside the Goldbergs
February 17, 2024 at 3:00 pm, Heights Theater, 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland Heights