The Open Goldberg Variations

Bach's Goldberg Variations, played by Kimiko Ishizaka

Talented and committed people have done their very best to make the best possible recording of a truly great piece of music - and then give it away for free

Review by Catching the Waves on May 28, 2012

The important people are the potential customers. There are a billion people online who can now hear and own a pristine, high-quality recording of this wonderful work. They won't have to record a low-fi radio broadcast to hear it; they won't have to visit a torrent site and inadvertently spread viruses; they won't carry the psychological stigma of knowing they have stolen something, and they won't have purloined a slice of someone's wages. No, they will be dignified, legitimate owners and listeners and, if Bach has anything to do with it, will learn to love the music and, lo and behold, become fans of his other works. This increases the likelihood that they will purchase recordings of his music, attend concerts, and even - I can barely credit it - play the actual music on actual instruments made out of actual wood and stuff.

This recording will eventually percolate its way around the world, finding a home in schools, universities, homes and mp3 players. If just one per cent of one billion people become fans of Bach's music because of this recording, classical music publishers will have a potential ten million new customers. But if you own Ms Ishizaka's recording, why bother to buy another version of the Goldberg? Well, that's the beauty of of it: every pianist has a different approach to the work. There are amazingly different versions of the work, as Glenn Gould, Andras Schiff, Murray Perahia and many others have demonstrated. It's like Pokémon: gotta catch ‘em all. Ahem.

The Open Goldberg Variations are available for download as MP3 and WAV from Kimiko Ishizaka's music site.