The Goldberg Variations is an incredibly special piece to me. I own many different recordings and finally learnt it myself while pregnant with my first child. I have performed it live now on five occasions. Two of these have been at 11pm by candle light and followed by a midnight feast. The point of this is partly to try and recreate something of the atmosphere that Count Kaiserling would have experienced whilst his personal harpshichordist, the 14 year old Goldberg, played to him in the night, trying to cure his insomnia! When the venue is right I have the audience lying on cushions, ideally by the fire. I ask that people don’t clap after the performance is up so as not to wake those who may have gently drifted off.
Personally I consider this piece a form of meditation both for player and listener. I don’t wish for applause afterwards. It is a such a long and personal piece that I think people should be left to reflect on the effect it has had on them.
Holly’s rendition of the Goldberg Variations was really the most exceptional and memorable musical experience of my life. I wouldn’t describe it as a concert – Holly had effortlessly created a genuine artistic happening which so many new fads aim at but so often miss the mark. Annie Quick