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Johann Gottlieb Goldberg


(1727 - 1756)

Johann Gottlieb Goldberg was a pupil of both Wilhelm Friedemann and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Goldberg Variations were named for him; he may have been their first performer. Born in Danzig in 1727, he showed early gifts as a keyboard player when taken under Wilhelm Friedemann's tutelage in Dresden, followed by studies with Johan Sebastain in Leipzig. By 1751 he was back in Dresden and died there five years later, at only 29.

We know very little else for certain, except that his prodigious talent at the harpsichord was legendary, but may have come at great cost. His manic performances were accompanied by extreme melancholy and self doubt: he destroyed much of his own work and seems to have consistently disparaged the rest. Only two harpsichord concertos, seven trio sonatas, 12 polonaises, and a handful of keyboard works survive.

Recommended Recordings

Concertos for Harpsichord

Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG6010250-2
2 Concertos/Dabringhaus & Grimm MD&GL3250 reissued as MDG6010250-2
Waldemar Döling (harpsichord), Emil Tabakov/Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble
2 Concertos/Verso VRS2025
Jacques Ogg (harpsichord)/University of Salamanca Baroque Orchestra