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Goldberg Variations on Wind Instruments

Goldberg Variations on Wind Instruments

Valletta Baroque Festival 2024


Flute: Rebecca Hall, Clara Galea

Oboe: John McDonough (arranger), Jenny Melville

Clarinet: Giuseppe Recchia, Daniele Galletto

Bassoon: Giacomo Cella, Lampros-Ioannas Lapinas

Harp: Donata Mattei 


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Goldberg-Variations BWV988

Arr. John McDonough Aria                                                                                                               

Variatio 1. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 2. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 3. Canone all'Unisono. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 4. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 5. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav.

Variatio 6. Canone alla Seconda. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 7. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav. al tempo di Giga

Variatio 8. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 9. Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 10. Fughetta. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 11. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 12. Canone alla Quarta. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 13. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 14. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 15. Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 16. Ouverture. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 17. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 18. Canone alla Sesta. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 19. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 20. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 21. Canone alla Settima. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 22. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 23. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 24. Canone alla Ottava. a 1 Clav.

Variatio 25. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 26. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 27. Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 28. a 2 Clav.

Variatio 29. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav.

Variatio 30. Quodlibet. a 1 Clav.


Programme Notes


At the core of the Valletta International Baroque Festival lies J.S. Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. For each of the incarnations of the Festival they have made an appearance, whether in their original form, or in arrangement for groups as diverse as string trio to saxophone quartet. Cutting the Gordian Knot to make a successful transfer of this harpsichord masterpiece requires a unique understanding of the instruments involved. MPO Principal Oboe John McDonough displays such knowledge. This bespoke arrangement was commissioned by the VIBF for performance by Soloists of the Malta Philharmonic Wind Section and harp.

Following the original inspiration for the commission, McDonough opens the work with the Aria on solo flute and harp, before leading the listener through the full range and colour palette of the wind group; from piccolo to bassoon. Underlying this octet is the harp, a homage to the original harpsichord version. Instruments are paired and poised to reflect the dance like attributes of some movements, while enhancing the lulling nature of others.

Heraclitus stated “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is no longer the same man”. And so, McDonough closes the arrangement with a return to the solo flute and harp of the opening aria; the notes remain the same, but we hear them differently as a result of the journey.


17 January 2024
Casino Maltese, Valletta
€25 - €40
Audience Level
Other Dates
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Valletta Baroque Festival 2024

Goldberg Variations on Wind Instruments

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