J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations


Dr. Brendan Kinsella, Pianist

Dr. Brendan Kinsella

FREE Admission

Sunday, February 4, 2024
4:00 p.m.
The Piano Gallery
(361) 851-0400
4432 S. Padre Island Drive - Corpus Christi, TX
About the Artist

“An amazing pianist.” -The Houston Chronicle

“Brendan Kinsella presented the concert ‘Lisztomania’ on a date that could be daunting, October 22nd, 2011, the actual 200th birth anniversary of Franz Liszt, but you will hear that it didn’t seem to faze him at all. In fact, he attacked one of Liszt’s more famous transcriptions [Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, op. 67] with the passion and energy that Liszt required.” -Bill Baker, host of Syracuse Public Radio’s “Concert Hall”.

Described as a “sensitive musician with an ear for color” by the Cincinnati Enquirer, pianist Brendan Kinsella’s recent concert engagements have taken him to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans, Holland, Italy, and other cities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He earned his Bachelor (with honors) and Master of Music degrees at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as a pupil of Frank Weinstock (with additional coaching from James Tocco and Kenneth Griffiths) and in 2008 received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City as a student of Robert Weirich. In master classes, he has performed for artists such as Christopher Elton, Susan Graham, Martin Katz, Ani Kavafian, Anne-Akiko Meyers, Frederic Rzewski, Andre-Michel Schub, Peter Serkin, David Shifrin, Midori, and the Takacs Quartet. He completed his training as a Solo Piano Fellow at the Music Academy of the West, working under the guidance of Jerome Lowenthal, Professor of Piano at the Juilliard School. In 2010, he debuted as a soloist in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and was a featured concerto soloist at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

A dedicated teacher, Kinsella presently serves as Professor of Piano at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, where he teaches applied piano, chamber music, piano pedagogy, and piano literature to an international class of gifted young musicians. Members of his select studio regularly participate in national and international summer festivals, perform in master classes for distinguished concert artists (such as Jerome Lowenthal, David Korevaar, Kevin Kenner, and Sean Chen), present their scholarly research at professional conferences, and gain admittance to prestigious MM and DMA programs nationwide (the Peabody Institute, The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, Temple University, and the University of Texas-Austin, to name a few. As the founder of the South Texas Collegiate MTNA Chapter, students in his piano pedagogy symposium gained national prominence as the recipients of the 2022 “Collegiate Chapter of the Year” Award by Music Teachers National Association, the highest honor in their discipline. Before joining the faculty at UTRGV, he was a member of the piano area at Missouri Western State University and held graduate assistantships in piano and collaborative piano at CCM and UMKC.

Born 1980 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kinsella began playing the piano at age 11 and made his concerto debut at 15. A live recording of his performance of Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques at the Midwest Clinic is commercially available from the MarkRecords label, and his recording of Narong Prangcharoen’s chamber music was released on Albany records in 2012 to favorable reviews. His recent and upcoming engagements include performances of concerti by Ravel, Bach, Beethoven, and Grieg; a series of outreach and recruitment concerts throughout Texas with his collegiate studio; and nationwide performances of Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations.

The Program

  • Sonata in F major, K. 332 Mozart
  • Allegro (1756-1791)
  • Allegro
  • Allegro assai
  • Sonata in A minor, K. 310 Mozart
  • Allegro maestoso
  • Adagio cantabile con espressione
  • Presto
  • Aria mit verschiedenen Veränderungen (Goldberg Variations), BWV 988 J.S. Bach

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741): Form, Structure, and Musical Elements

10 groups of 3, preceded by an Aria. After the 30th variation, the Aria is played da Capo.
First nine groups: Baroque Form; Virtuoso Variation; Canon on an ascending interval.
Last group: Baroque Form; Virtuoso Variation; Quodlibet (combination of multiple folksongs).

Aria: 32-measure Sarabande with a bass line derived from Handel’s Chaconne in G major, HWV 442.

Variation 1: Polonaise (LH rhythm of an eight and two sixteenths). Var. 10 of the Handel.
Variation 2: Virtuoso variation. RH plays two overlapping voices against a walking bass line.
Variation 3: Canon at the Unison (B-B). Three-part sinfonia, real answer in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 4: “Crab walking” Prelude (ascending leaps), taken after Corelli’s Trio Sonatas, op. 3.
Variation 5: Virtuoso variation mimicking Couperin’s Ordres (“La frénésie ou la désespoir”).
Variation 6: Canon at the Second (G-A, sopra). Three-part sinfonia, real answer in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 7: French Gigue. Slower tempo, no anacrusis as per an English Gigue.
Variation 8: Virtuoso variation with much hand-crossing. Alternating scalar and arpeggiated figures.
Variation 9: Canon at the Third (B-G, sotto). Three-part sinfonia, tonal answer in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 10: Fughetta in four voices. Strictly follows the “formula” of most fugues.
Variation 11: Virtuoso variation of imitative scales and arpeggios. Var. 39-40 of the Handel.
Variation 12: Canon at the Fourth (G-D, sotto). Three-part sinfonia, inverso.

Variation 13: Sarabande in cantilena style, resembling the Italian Concerto’s second movement.
Variation 14: Virtuoso variation, echoing Rameau’s “La Rappel des Oiseaux” (short “bird” figures).
Variation 15: Canon at the Fifth (G-D, sopra). Three-part sinfonia, inverso. First minor variation.

Variation 16: French Overture. Two sections: a stately introduction followed by a three-voice fugato.
Variation 17: Virtuoso variation modeled after Vars. 53-56 of the Handel.
Variation 18: Canon at the Sixth (B-G, sopra). Three-part sinfonia, strict real answer.

Variation 19: Menuet akin to eponymous movements in the Partitas, BWV 825-830.
Variation 20: Virtuoso variation with the “hocket” texture of Scarlatti’s Sonata in A major, K. 39.
Variation 21: Canon at the Seventh (B-flat-A, sopra). Three-part sinfonia, inverso in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 22: Imitation à la Gabrielli’s antiphonal brass motets (parts “echo” at precise intervals).
Variation 23: Virtuoso variation. Scales “chase” one another. Interlocking thirds and sixths.
Variation 24: Canon at the Octave (G-G, sotto). Three-part sinfonia, tonal answer in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 25: Aria in proto-empfindsamer stil. Last variation in G minor, called the “Black Pearl.”
Variation 26: Virtuoso variation. Alternating contrapuntal lines accompany a Sarabande.
Variation 27: Canon at the Ninth (G-A, sopra). Two-part invention, inverso in the 2nd reprise.

Variation 28: Trilled Prelude as seen in the Prelude in C minor from WTC I.
Variation 29: Virtuoso variation. Overlapping chords and scales.
Variation 30: Quodlibet: “I wanted beef, but she cooked cabbage.”/ “Sit closer, my darling.”

Aria da Capo. The Aria returns after a long journey. Innocence, purity, fragility, homecoming.