This is a very old scratchy recording, but if you lean in to listen, you will discover the inimitable Pablo Casals, one of the greatest interpreters of Bach. He remains unrivalled, thanks to his intensity and the honesty with which he plays Bach’s music.
Goldberg Variations: Aria
Recommended recording: Glenn Gould (piano)
It’s hard to put together a list of Bach’s greatest works without including the Aria from his Goldberg Variations. It’s equally hard to not include Glenn Gould. He brings so much of Bach’s music into focus and allows us to consider it deeply. Simone Dinnerstein’s more recent version is equally brilliant, but Gould remains an irreplaceable artist.
There is no better entry to Bach than the first piece in his Well-Tempered Clavier. Close your eyes and let this music seep in: it’s short, sweet, and will center your mind. Make listening to this piece a habit!
Bach’s Mass in B minor is extremely powerful: you can get lost in its intense moving lines and harmonies. It’s also a work that brings together Bach’s loves of organ, choir and large instrumental forces. It’s definitely worth diving into, especially if you love drama!