Goldberg: Jazz Variations

Experience Bach’s famous Goldberg Variations re-imagined. Join students from across our School of Keyboard Studies as they perform Simon Parkin’s jazz inspired arrangements of these classic works.

J S Bach arr Parkin Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Aria: Simon Parkin
1. Mackenzie Paget
2. Mackenzie Paget
3. Misha Tyshkul
4. Misha Tyshkul
5. Simon Parkin
6. Yulim Jung
7. Yulim Jung
8. Angelina Pavlou
9. Angelina Pavlou
10. Tiffany Buxton
11. Tiffany Buxton
12. Graham Scott
13. Simon Parkin
14. Nye Hughes-Watts
15. Nalni Chen
16. Yong Ong
17. Yong Ong
18, Fangwei Zhao
19. Fangwei Zhao
20. Nalni Chen
21. Cameron Dickason
22. Cameron Dickason
23. Rose McLachlan
24. Rose McLachlan
25. Simon Parkin
27. Minsung Park
27. Minsung Park
28. Harry Lai
29. Amy Wakefield
Quodlibet: Murray McLachlan
Aria Reprise: Murray McLachlan


This concert will end at approximately 9.15pm.

Introduction by Simon Parkin

It has always been difficult to know what to do with the repeats in Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. The usual solution of adding a few token ornaments had never convinced me, and the original is so elaborate and complex that there’s often not very much room for them anyway. Many pianists simply omit the repeats. Baroque musicians all improvised, and it struck me that jazz playing is the current, and equivalent, improvisatory performance style. I therefore decided to use various jazz-derived idioms for my repeats, including swing, funk and even Reggae (the image of Bach’s wig replaced by dreadlocks has haunted me for a while!). They are by no means easy to play (the originals are one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire to start with, and my variations take things up another notch), so I am very grateful to all the RNCM pianists who have taken this on, learning one or two variations each, and to the School of Keyboard Studies for making this project possible.

I know that it’s hubristic to place my own work alongside Bach’s, but Bach’s music is completely indestructible, and hopefully my re-imaginings  might show this wonderful music in a new light.