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A new public domain score and studio recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations - set the Goldbergs free!
A new public domain score and studio recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations - set the Goldbergs free!
A new public domain score and studio recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations - set the Goldbergs free!
406 backers pledged $23,748 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Bandcamp would have saved us thousands in 2012 when we released the Open Goldberg Variations.

    2. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Hello agkick, here is the message that I sent to all of the backers who were to receive the "Deluxe Score". I attempt to explain that we were not able to fulfil that aspect of the project as it was originally imagined, and the replacement plan of two signed scores. Apologies for the disappointment, and lessons learned on our parts.
      Dear Backers,

      2012 was quite a year for the Open Goldberg Variations project! From the recording studios of Berlin to a successful launch of the digital score and recording, everything about the project went smoothly and as planned. Some delays were seen in the delivery of the CD recording, but it turned out quite beautiful and was certainly worth the wait. Then we got quite a boost when GRIN, a publisher of academic papers and articles in Munich, told us that they wanted to print and distribute the paper score of the Goldberg Variations. While the process of producing and mailing that score were also not quick, the result, once again, was surprisingly nice and exceeded expectations.

      There is only one thing left to deliver, the deluxe edition of the score, and this has weighed heavy on my heart for some time now. What I originally envisioned has remained elusive to produce. I have visited binderies and discussed designs, but when shown the actual materials available, I have yet to be convinced that the product would be anything better than the GRIN score. It rather reminded me of the way that hymnals and school books are bound to make sure they survive in harsh conditions - not the thing of elegance and beauty I had hoped for. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that the GRIN score was the nicest version of the score that I could imagine.

      Meanwhile, the backers who pledged for the normal score have long since received their copies, but the backers who elected the deluxe score still haven't received a thing. To resolve this, I've elected to send you each not one, but two copies of the GRIN score, each signed by Werner Schweer, Kimiko Ishizaka, and myself, as a token of our gratitude for supporting this project. No further score will be produced, but we already have something that is quite beautiful. My humblest apologies that the delivery has taken such a very long time. I'm certain that you'll enjoy the GRIN scores, and that you'll find an appreciative recipient for the extra copy.


      Robert Douglass

    3. Missing avatar

      agkick on

      Overall, I was very pleased with the electronic artifacts resulting from this project. The performances are fine, recordings are of high quality, and the iPad app, in which one can follow the performance in the score is brilliant. I was disappointed only in the end that the promised premium-printed specially-bound score was replaced by two plain paper-bound scores (not at all equivalent), as I had imagined some of the money from my backing at that level as being reserved for the expense of that.

    4. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      The CDs, on the other hand, have all shipped. Anyone expecting a CD who has not received one should report to me directly:

    5. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Hi Adam, no. It has gone quite slowly with the publisher, but they will all ship (normal and deluxe) by the end of the year.

    6. Missing avatar

      Adam Tallman on

      Not sure if I missed an update or what but have the scores shipped yet?

    7. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Hi Peter,

      we've been working through the shipments that need to be done manually (those with signed CDs), and most have been shipped. I just checked the list and by circumstance, yours hasn't gone out yet, but I'll be sending it today, from New York, via USPS 1st class mail. This will include the 2 signed CDs and a signed print. The deluxe score will take a couple months still. Thanks for your patience! Let me know when you've received today's shipment.


    8. Missing avatar

      Peter J. Vasquez Sr. on

      I'm just wondering, when should we expect to receive this? I saw the August 30th message that the cds are now on amazon, but I'm wondering when backers expect to have it? Although I am equally excited that the cds are available on amazon, I understood that backers would've had it by now. Please let me know when the shipments have actually started, and via what method they were sent. An update would be appreciated. Thanks.

    9. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      The Open Goldberg Variations are now available on Amazon: Yeah!

    10. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      GRIN - the publisher of the new edition, should begin shipping very soon. Expect your scores in the near future! Deluxe scores are yet to come. We're nearing final design for the CD cover; liner notes have been written and will be made available in English and German. Our ambition is to have the CDs in the mail in the last week of August.

    11. Missing avatar

      agkick on

      The materials released so far have been wonderful. I am enjoying the MP3s and the iPad App. I hope to be able to the higher bitrate FLAC files soon. Thank you.

    12. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      High bitrate FLAC files are available.

    13. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      There will be higher bitrate downloads within a couple days. We had to have the FLAC redone because it contained a glitch. Track 9 should be there now. SoundCloud had initially blocked it because (ironically) their algorithm thought it was copyrighted material.

    14. Missing avatar

      shufflemuffin on

      Also, variation 9 is missing on the download/stream page

    15. Missing avatar

      shufflemuffin on

      And maybe something in 24 bit quality? 48000 hz? I want the best quality you've got :)

    16. Missing avatar

      shufflemuffin on

      Um.... Please tell me that there's more than just 128k mp3! Where's the FLAC?

    17. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      The Open Goldberg Variations by Kimiko Ishizaka are now available!

      The official download page:

      The SoundCloud with embeddable widget:

      The MuseScore page with the embeddable and downloadable score:

      The release announcement:

      The "Making Radio History" project with Wisconsin Public Radio:

      BoingBoing article:

    18. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Wayne, the update is posted here:

      As a backer you should have received an email from Kickstarter as well. Here's the text of the update:

      "Good news: We've set a release date for the digital score and recording. On May 28th the world will receive two new cultural goods, made possible by your support. You'll get a notification as soon as the release has happened and you'll have access to the files on a selection of websites. The production of physical goods will continue for a while, so expect your CDs and printed scores sometime in June.

      To thank you for waiting, and to give you something to enjoy from now until then, we're sharing Variation #5. I hope you'll agree with me that it sounds GREAT!

      There are still a few steps to go in the mastering and editing, so this track is not for distribution beyond you - the backers. Please don't post it anywhere else. Thanks!"

    19. Wayne McDermott on

      Hello Robert,

      I haven't seen an update yet, were they sent via email?

      -Wayne McDermott

    20. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Walter - as an IT and former ABAP programmer, I love the SAP analogy!

      Here's the current status: We'll be releasing the digital recording and score on May 28th! Yay! Backers should have received an update in the mail on this, also with an example track from the recording. Let me know if you are unable to see update #29 for any reason.

      After that, physical goods (the printed scores and pressed CDs) will be shipped in June. We've still got a bit of work to do on the graphical elements for these (for example, we have a photo shoot with Kimiko Ishizaka booked for later this month).

      Then there is a ton of video to process, and the CEUS recording to work on. Those don't have target deadlines yet and will be done mainly by me.

      So there's not long to wait now for the digital goods, which will let you hear and see what a great thing you've helped us create!

      Thanks for your support, and your understanding that art doesn't happen quickly.


    21. Missing avatar

      walter spark on

      I like to think art should be given free reign, but I've been waiting a long time for this project to be completed.

      Please provide a precise timeline so we know where our support is going. I'm working on an SAP project and this is starting to feel like that!

    22. Missing avatar

      Peter J. Vasquez Sr. on

      We're halfway through April now. It would seem a good time for another update. Will you be receiving a demo track soon, and is the release still on track for sometime in May?

    23. Wayne McDermott on

      Sounds good ! (Pardon the pun). Thanks for the update.

    24. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      The recording is being edited. There's not really much to report on. We hope to release a demo track for publicity sometime soon - probably a single variation. Other than that, the release is still on track for May.

    25. Wayne McDermott on

      Hello, how is it going? We haven't heard much since January.

    26. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Tomorrow we go to Berlin for 5 days of recording. Stay tuned for lots of updates from the Teldex Studio!

    27. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Hi Chauncellor - we just posted an update: Everything is moving forward on schedule =)

    28. Missing avatar

      shufflemuffin on

      Hi! I'm curious: What's the status of the project? It's been a while...

    29. Nick Mailer on

      And cynthia, Bach would almost certainly have disagreed with your po-faced stance on irreverent reuse and mashups. For example, variation 30 is already a mashup of a rude song about farting!

    30. Nick Mailer on

      "Available for mashup and laundry detergent commercials? I just can't support that". Freedom is the freedom to allow people to do the things of which you disapprove, so that you may be free to do the things of which they disapprove.

    31. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Cynthia - or just for enjoyment.

    32. Missing avatar

      cynthia k curme on

      This work is gorgeous and perfect as is. Available for mashup and laundry detergent commercials? I just can't support that.

    33. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Jim, the premium scores are going to be a real treat. They're going to be custom printed and hand bound in a nice cloth binding, probably with gilded pages and pressed lettering. We'll also think of some special inserts and other goodies to make it really premium. There's a blog post about them here:

    34. Jim Larson on

      What are all the differences between the regular score (@ $25 - The printed and bound score), and the higher priced one (@ $150 - The premium hand-printed and specially bound)?

    35. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Hi James,

      The master list is here:

      At the moment, these are the Variations that haven't yet been claimed:

      Variatio 4. à 1 Clav.
      Variatio 8. a 2 Clav.
      Variatio 11. a 2 Clav.
      Variatio 17. a 2 Clav.
      Variatio 18. Canone alla Sexta. a 1 Clav.
      Variatio 19. à 1 Clav.
      Variatio 20. a 2 Clav.
      Variatio 22. a 1 Clav. alla breve
      Variatio 23. a 2 Clav.
      Variatio 27. Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav.

    36. Missing avatar

      James on

      Which variations are still available for dedication?

    37. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      @qubodub: Here is a video of the 1st variation without any voiceover.… Enjoy!

    38. qubodup on

      The video on the home page has horrible audio quality (voice recording is better than music recording). Since this is about audio I think this should be fixed if possible..

      Oh and congrats on overachieving! :)

    39. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Making this a sustainable activity is definitely one of the goals. I'll write more about our plans, and ask for all your suggestions, later in the project. (Open Brandenburgs would be fun!)

    40. Nick Mailer on

      OpenBrandenburgs please! :-)

    41. Missing avatar

      Ryan Kaldari on

      So after this project is finished, what's next? It looks like there are a lot of people interested in supporting open music projects, so I hope you'll do some more of these.

    42. Ulrich Babiak on

      Having a MIDI that actually corresponds with the live recording would be very interesting - if there was such a thing as a Steinway-with-MIDI-out ... Otherwise, it would have to be recorded twice, once on the grand piano and once on a really high quality MIDI keyboard.
      Then, you could convert the MIDI recording back to MusicXML, create a diff compared to the MusicXML of the original score and use the result to give grades for each part of the performance :-))

    43. Missing avatar

      Don.. on


    44. Donald Sosin on

      An intriguing idea. There is, of course, material online, such as this:

      and numerous good recordings, but the idea of having the music available in MIDI from a live performance would be wonderful, as opposed to step-entry MIDI files that abound online with varying quality. The field is really wide open for this kind of project, I think. Congratulations!

    45. Sally-Page Stuck on

      My goodness! How unbelievably generous of you all to donate your time & talents to make this public domain! If you can do that, the least I can do is donate.

    46. Robert Douglass 7-time creator on

      Thank you, everybody! This is very exciting, and I'll write more about what we've achieved, and the next 70 days, tomorrow.

      Until then, here's the celebratory post on Reddit:
      And on Twitter:

      Pop the corks and have some fun - we're making music history here =)

    47. Missing avatar

      Elon on


    48. Missing avatar

      Dr Grudin on

      She plays really beautifully.

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