Performed by Nicolas Namoradze
Recorded live on Feb. 24, 2016 at Elebash Hall, NYC
A Goldberg Variation
“Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart’s desire.”
The fragility of memory is an interesting thing. In the process of encoding, storing, and retrieving information, our brains engage in an active process of construction that is vulnerable to distortion and manipulation – especially where emotions are involved.
In Memory is a diptych in which I explore two distinct musical memories: listening as a child to my grandfather practicing his instrument; and myself as a young man playing through Bach’s Goldberg Variations during my first summer in Paris.
In Âge d’or (“Golden Age”), the main melodic motive of this piece is derived from my grandfather’s name using the soggetto cavato dalle vocali technique that was developed by Josquin des Prez (and coined by Zarlino). The resulting theme – A G# E D – also is the inspiration for the title of the piece, an appropriate term for these sepia-toned memories.A Goldberg Variation, as the title implies, is a variation on the Aria from J. S. Bach’s iconic work, in my own style and syntax. Rather than studying the original closely, I composed the piece intuitively, allowing the naturally-occurring distortions of my memory of the aria to embed themselves in the musical flow.
An adaptation of this work, for sextet (flute, oboe, violin, cello, and 2 guitars), was premiered by the Cygnus Ensemble in Elebash Hall, New York City on May 1st, 2012.