Goldberg Variations

Audio CD - Goldberg Variations, J.S. Bach (arr. for solo marimba)

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“Bach as you’ve never heard it … [Mr. Cheung] surmounts the contrapuntal hurdles and offers a stylish, deeply expressive interpretation [of the Goldberg Variations] notable for its clear voicing, eloquent phrasing and wide range of color and dynamics …”

The New York Times

“Absolutely Incredible! Cheung adds a tasty amount of musical nuances that Bach would have likely approved of had he heard today’s modern marimba.”

PAS Percussive Notes Magazine

”….. An excellent alternative to the usual keyboard version of this Bach masterpiece. As Charles Ives would have said, “A real ear-stretcher.”


“Brilliant. Pius’s Goldberg Variations recording is so warm and musical and truly engaging….His playing is extremely sensitive and appropriate for Bach…”

Jennifer Higdon, World-renowned Composer

Sample Sound Tracks

Click on “PLAY” icon on the left to play samplers

Track 1 Sampler – Aria

Track 2 Sampler – Variation 1 a 1 Clav.

Track 3 Sampler – Variation 2 a 1 Clav.

Track 4 Sampler – Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all’ Unisuono

Track 5 Sampler – Variation 4 a 1 Clav.

Track 6 Sampler – Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.

Track 7 Sampler – Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda

Track 8 Sampler – Variation 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.

Track 9 Sampler – Variation 8 a 2 Clav.

Track 10 Sampler – Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza

Track 11 Sampler – Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta

Track 12 Sampler – Variation 11 a 2 Clav.

Track 13 Sampler – Variation 12 Canone alla Quarta

Track 14 Sampler – Variation 13 a 2 Clav.

Track 15 Sampler – Variation 14 a 2 Clav.

Track 16 Sampler – Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante

Track 17 Sampler – Variation 16 Overture a 1 Clav.

Track 18 Sampler – Variation 17 a 2 Clav.

Track 19 Sampler – Variation 18 a 1 Clav. Canone all Sesta

Track 20 Sampler – Variation 19 a 1 Clav.

Track 21 Sampler – Variation 20 a 2 Clav.

Track 22 Sampler – Variation 21 Canone alla Settima

Track 23 Sampler – Variation 22 a 1 Clav. Alla breve

Track 24 Sampler – Variation 23 a 2 Clav.

Track 25 Sampler – Variation 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all’ Ottava

Track 26 Sampler – Variation 25 a 2 Clav.

Track 27 Sampler – Variation 26 a 2 Clav.

Track 28 Sampler – Variation 27 a 2 Clav. Canone alla Nona

Track 29 Sampler – Variation 28 a 2 Clav.

Track 30 Sampler – Variation 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.

Track 31 Sampler – Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet

Track 32 Sampler – Aria da capo

Artist’s Notes

“Why not? I love the Goldberg Variations and I love the marimba, so it is only natural for me to play the Goldbergs on marimba, though I have always been a strong believer that music comes first, instrument comes second. I believe when one plays an instrument well enough, one can achieve a state of musical purity where it does not matter what the instrument is. Audience would forget the actual sounds that they are listening to, and all that is left is pure musical expression. This is something that I always strive for.”

“As to the story of how I have gotten to know the Goldberg Variations, like most people who play this piece on the piano, I first knew of the Goldbergs from Glenn Gould’s recording and fell in love with the piece and Gould immediately. Though I have known of the piece since I was really young, I have never played it on the piano, let alone the marimba. For a long time, I thought the idea of playing this gigantic Bach monument on the marimba was simply ridiculous and undoable.”

“It wasn’t until Fall 2005, when I finally attempted the task of playing the Goldbergs on marimba seriously. At that point of my life, I always thought I had more to say and share as a performer after every performance. I wanted to perform a big piece by a master composer that is a world of its own in the way Mahler does with his Symphonies. Since Mahler Symphonies are impossible on marimba, I turned to the close to impossible choice of the Goldberg Variations. To give myself the extra push to learn it, I actually scheduled a small school recital 2.5 weeks from the day I decided to learn it. I did so knowing that the first time performing this piece will always be an extremely dangerous experience, regardless of how long I have practiced it. The result was better than I expected. Or shall I say at least good enough to the point that I knew I would want to invest the rest of my life to discover this piece. The summer following that came my debut album of the Goldberg Variations.”

Pius Cheung

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