Broadcast: Goldberg Variations Pt.II — Manchester Collective, online, 16 May 2020, free entry
Despite being under lockdown, Manchester Collective stay firmly committed to their mission to give us unforgettable musical experiences. As part of their Isolation Broadcast series, each week they stream a free concert on Facebook and YouTube – newly issued films of their electrifying performances, interspersed with home-recorded insights from the performers themselves.
On Saturday 14th May, the collective will broadcast their second instalment of Bach’s Goldberg Variations – one of classical music’s most beguiling works, loved by musicians for its deceptive simplicity and exquisite beauty. Its most famous interpreter is Canadian pianist Glen Gould, who gave two very different performances at the start and at the end of his career – the first vibrating with youthful energy and the second reflecting a lifetime of musical contemplation.
Manchester Collective, always doing things a little differently, perform the variations as a string trio, who were filmed in Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory last year. As Rahki Singh (violinist and Music Director) told us partway through the first instalment of the variations (below), this arrangement allows the listener to hear and see how Bach passes his musical lines around, the conversations much clearer when physicalised by three separate players.
That first broadcast was notable not only for the incredible playing, but also for the added flashes of insight, courtesy of both Rakhi Singh and Managing Director Adam Szabo. They give context to the work and tell us what to keep an ear out for in a really accessible, but never patronising way. Even during the lockdown, facilitating a deep connection between audience and music is what Manchester Collective do best.
Picking up where the first broadcast left off, the second half of The Goldberg Variations will be beamed into the ether at 20:30pm on 16th May.
Broadcast: Goldberg Variations Pt.II — Manchester Collective, online