Dan Tepfer
Goldberg Variations / Variations
SSC1284
2011-11-08
 Goldberg Variations / Variations by Dan Tepfer cover

buy CD
buy Download iTunes

Track List: listen

Aria... - 2:33
Variation 1 - 0:49
Improvisation 1 - 0:51
Variation 2 - 0:47
Improvisation 2 - 0:50
Variation 3 / canon at the unison - 0:55
Improvisation 3 / canonic 1 - 0:57
Variation 4 - 0:28
Improvisation 4 - 0:35
Variation 5 - 0:40
Improvisation 5 - 0:42
Variation 6 / canon at the second - 0:58
Improvisation 6 / canonic 2 - 0:57
Variation 7 - 1:09
Improvisation 7 - 1:14
Variation 8 - 0:51
Improvisation 8 - 0:45
Variation 9 / canon at the third - 0:39
Improvisation 9 / thirds - 0:41
Variation 10 / fughetta - 0:51
Improvisation 10 / fuguelike - 0:58
Variation 11 - 0:59
Improvisation 11 - 1:07
Variation 12 / canon at the fourth - 1:18
Improvisation 12 / obsessive - 1:36
Variation 13 - 2:48
Improvisation 13 - 1:49
Variation 14 - 1:08
Improvisation 14 - 1:30
Variation 15 / canon at the fifth - 2:10
Improvisation 15 / canonic 5 - 2:25
Variation 16 / ouverture - 1:33
Improvisation 16 - 1:15
Variation 17 - 1:00
Improvisation 17 - 1:25
Variation 18 / canon at the sixth - 0:49
Improvisation 18 / sixths - 0:51
Variation 19 - 0:35
Improvisation 19 - 0:52
Variation 20 - 1:00
Improvisation 20 - 1:04
Variation 21 / canon at the seventh - 1:37
Improvisation 21 / sevenths - 2:01
Variation 22 - 0:46
Improvisation 22 - 0:49
Variation 23 - 1:12
Improvisation 23 - 0:51
Variation 24 / canon at the octave - 1:24
Improvisation 24 / canonic 8 - 1:14
Variation 25 - 3:41
Improvisation 25 - 3:42
Variation 26 - 1:02
Improvisation 26 - 1:20
Variation 27 / canon at the ninth - 1:07
Improvisation 27 - 1:14
Variation 28 - 1:12
Improvisation 28 - 1:08
Variation 29 - 1:06
Improvisation 29 - 0:47
Variation 30 / quodlibet - 1:07
Improvisation 30 / mashup - 1:08
...Aria - 3:03

 

Musicians:
Dan Tepfer - piano

Dan Tepfer has created a kaleidoscopic experience with his solo album Goldberg Variations / Variations, the jazz pianist approaching J.S. Bach's masterpiece – one of the classical canon's most totemic works – as an inspiring font for creativity. Interspersed with his affectionate interpretation of the complete ""Goldbergs"" are his own improvised variations on Bach's variations. No Jacques Loussier-style swinging of the classics, Tepfer's variations are marked by a ruminative joy, spiced with contemporary dissonances and a deep feel for the source as timeless music beyond category.

Although the Goldberg Variations are beloved now as an entrancing, virtually sacred work of art, Johann Sebastian Bach published the score – consisting of an ""aria"" and a set of 30 variations – in 1741 as a keyboard study, with the piece later nicknamed for the harpsichordist who might have been its first performer. From Glenn Gould to Pierre Hantaο, the modern world's greatest classical artists have performed and recorded the ""Goldbergs."" Investing himself totally in music he has known since childhood, Dan Tepfer recorded his Goldberg Variations / Variations completely solo, even engineering the late-night sessions himself for total immersion in the process. The result is both utterly individual and genuinely moving.

Goldberg Variations / Variations is the 29-year-old, New York-based Tepfer's sixth album as leader or co-leader, following three heading a trio, one of solo piano improvisations, and another featuring duets with veteran saxophone luminary Lee Konitz. Known for his rare improvisational gift and a complex yet melodic approach to music-making, the prize-winning pianist has been hailed as ""a player of exceptional poise"" by The New York Times, while Downbeat extolled his ""ability to disappear into the music as he's making it.""

For those who deem Bach's music untouchable, they should remember Stravinsky's rejoinder to those who criticized his transformation of Baroque compositions in Pulcinella as disrespectful: ""You `respect,' but I love,"" he said. As for Tepfer, he says: ""What I'm doing is definitely loving. But instead of recording the Goldberg Variations and then writing lengthy liner notes about how I feel about them, I'm expressing how I feel about them in music, with my improvisations on Bach's variations. One challenge was switching gears – playing this classical music that's a real test for me and for so many pianists, then the next minute really improvising and being free.""

With Bach using the same chord progression throughout the Goldberg Variations, his musical process wasn't as different from jazz as it might seem. ""That is really what we do in jazz, particularly when playing standards,"" Tepfer explains. ""We take the chord progression of a tune, and it's often as simple as Bach's Aria, and we make variations on it.

Tepfer recorded the album alone – producing the sessions himself in the middle of the night – in the Yamaha Artist Services Salon in Manhattan, playing one of Yamaha's new CFX hand-built concert grand pianos.

Goldberg Variations / Variations will elicit surprise in many listeners that what might seem like a crazy idea works so beautifully. It might even help prompt some to reconsider concepts of genre – that music doesn't necessarily have to be classical or jazz, that sometimes it can be just music. Mostly, Tepfer hopes listeners are moved by the album, ""because I think the Goldberg Variations are one of the most profoundly affecting masterpieces,"" he says. ""From this tiny piece of material, Bach was able to express this incredible range of feeling, from a visceral delight to the most introspective sadness. And the fact that all the variations flow together and make this complete whole is a way for Bach to convey how all these different emotions are part of life and that they belong together. The contrast is what makes a complete life, and a complete work of art.""


The live recording

Goldberg Variations/Variations from The Little Squares on Vimeo




Reviews:

Very nice feature on the Dan's new Goldberg Variations project.

Ted Panken, DOWNBEAT - January 2012 read the full article

A Choc! in Jazz Magazine France!

Ludovic Florin, Jazz Magazine - December 2011 read the full article

Nice review in a tribute to Paul Motian.

Nate Chinen, The New York Times - December 2011 read the full article

Good review in JazzTimes.

Carlo Wolff, JazzTimes - December 2011 read the full article

Terrific Review in Wall Street Journal

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - December 2011 read the full article

Dan Tepfer's "Goldberg Variations/Variations" gets a great review in the January/February issue of Jazz News (France).

Christian Larrede, Jazz News - May 2012     Read the full article

 

Dan Tepfer News

Additional Releases by
Dan Tepfer