Deep Variations

Alexandre Tharaud
Theater Jones

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations Thursday and Friday evenings as part of The Cliburn series at the Kimbell Art Museum, has big shoes to fill. The Goldbergs were not a major part of pianists’ repertoires until 1955, when a young Glenn Gould made his first of two recordings of the work. He then re-recorded the variations in 1981.


The Goldberg Variations end with a repeat of the opening aria, and it was these final moments of the performance which lent it its power. Tharaud’s approach was so loving and tender that it seemed like a prayer to Bach’s spirit. I have seldom been more grateful to an audience than when they held their applause for nearly a minute after the last notes, providing a meditative close to a fine evening’s music.
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