Bach: Goldberg Variations (Download)


Parker Ramsay harp

Released 18 September 2020

Available as mp3 download and up to 192kHz/24bit (Studio Master).

 Available as a cd

The harp rearrangement of Bach’s keyboard music is a resounding success – The Independent

the music sparkles like a radiant mirage… it’s relentlessly beautiful… – WQXR

⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ BBC Music Magazine

Critics’ Choice 2020 – Gramophone Magazine

King’s College presents Bach’s iconic ‘Goldberg Variations’, arranged for harp by the outstanding young American musician Parker Ramsay. Somehow both delightfully intricate and beautifully simple, the ‘Goldbergs’ are recorded here in the wondrous acoustic of King’s College Chapel.

This version of the Goldberg Variations was created by Parker in part to make a statement about the harp: “I wanted to show the world that the harp is an instrument of beauty, sincerity and transcendence, standing alongside the keyboards and string instruments as a worthy vehicle for the music of J S Bach.”

The album is accompanied by extensive notes by Pulitzer Prize winning music critic Tim Page and leading Bach scholar Burkhard Schwalbach.

Transcribing music from one instrument to another is a challenge, and it doesn’t usually work very well. But then there’s Bach, whose work permits re-arrangement of all kinds so long as his musical structures remain intact. [Parker Ramsay’s new recording] is both brainy and beautiful, its easy-on-the-ear timbres stimulating, paradoxically, an even more intense analysis than usual.” – Tim Page

Parker Ramsay’s career is distinguished by its breadth and crossing of instrumental boundaries and genres at the harp, organ and harpsichord. Equally at home on modern and period instruments, Parker splits his time between pursuing historical performance and working with composers to push the technical limits of the modern pedal harp.

He was the first American to hold the post of Organ Scholar at King’s, from 2010–2013, following a long line of prestigious predecessors. Winner of the 2014 Sweelinck Competition in Amsterdam, he went on to pursue graduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School. He is co-director of A Golden Wire and works regularly with Apollo’s Fire, the Academy of Sacred Drama, the Shanghai Camerata, and a number of other period ensembles in the United States.

The latest album from King’s College follows critically acclaimed recordings by other alumni, including Tecchler’s Cello by Guy Johnston (“a stunning tour-de-force” – Classical Music Magazine) and La Nativité by Richard Gowers (“deeply impressive” – Gramophone Magazine).

1–32 Golberg Variations 78:45 J. S. Bach


Recorded at 192kHz 24-bit PCM in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Scholars, 10-13 September 2019.

Producer and Editor Benjamin Sheen
Engineer Arne Akselberg
Mastering Simon Gibson