View Full Version : Chamber Music Prom 1: Monday, 18th July at 1.00 p.m. (Bach)
Presented by Catherine Bott
Acclaimed harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani performs a masterwork by J.S. Bach, "composed for music lovers to refresh their spirits" according to its first edition.
Consisting of an exquisitely beautiful aria and a set of 30 variations, this is one of the great examples of variation form as well as a peak of the keyboard repertoire. These days the Goldberg Variations are often played on the piano by performers who believe the piano is a more communicative instrument, but Esfahani dismisses the views of those who think the harpsichord inexpressive in one word - "absurd!". Listen to what is sure to be a masterful performance and judge for yourself.
J.S. Bach: 'Goldberg' Variations BWV 988
Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord)
Continuing my long list of proms-newbie questions: I have a chamber season pass for Cadogan Hall. Is there a particular prommers' area like the RAH? Or is it general admission seating?
Thanks E A for the reminder. Piano or harpsichord, much can be said for either and once the music begins I'm with the performer.
prokkyshosty, my only experience of the Proms has been a week at Cadogan Hall a couple of years ago, and I would love to go back there. I had tickets for most of the concerts I attended, but I found it easy to get tickets on the day for additional performances. There is no prommers area as such, but there are always people around in the street outside and in the hall whom I found to be most friendly, so you will have no difficulty in establishing rapport with all sorts of interesting strangers. And, you never know who you will bump into. Well, I did know I was going to bump into one person, though we had no success in tracking down another associate who used to frequent these boards. Hello c. You can also meet and talk to some of the performers who, when I was there, came out for breaks at the stage door. I hadn't the nerve to approach Natalie Klein, however, or, in fact, any of the performers. But others did. Finally, the staff there were so friendly that I nearly took them back home with me. You are going to have a great time.
Remember that you still to actually collect a ticket from the Cadogan Hall box office for each concert. You'll be up in the gallery
I thought this a quite wonderful performance. really, what riches these Proms give us. I feel ashamed to moan as I have done recently.
Mahan Esfahani is clearly a masterful player; I have heard him a few times. But what impressed me almost as much was the sound of the harpsichord. Are they getting better and better as time passes and makers relearn old, forgotten skills? I have heard several recently that have none of the clanging nature of those old skeletons on tin roofs.
Obviously, pr. sh. figured out that all the seats are assigned at Cadogan Hall. I scored a £5 'promming' ticket in the AM, and saw house right/stage left. Esfahani did very well (even ignoring the cell phone between variations 8 & 9), with a mix of repeats in some variations and not others. I have it from a very reliable source that he was advised of the time limit, so he obviously couldn't take every repeat in every variations, but also that he decided on the spot which ones he'd take variations in and not. This was my first live 'Goldberg', so I have no other context to judge in that sense. But this one went very well and the audience was very appreciative. Not all the seats were taken, though, which makes me feel bad for those who got turned away (and a little angry at those who didn't show and didn't call to release their seats for sale).
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