Divers variations

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f05093a65f0>


As part of the hyperion clean-up, I was looking at this one: https://musicbrainz.org/release/a5cbf9c4-24ab-3326-a894-07526fa36228 (Angela Hewitt - Goldberg variations - 1st version). The metadata in MusicBrainz is rather less informative than that provided by hyperion here: https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67305. Neither MB nor the CD booklet has the additional information about each variation which is given in hyperion’s tags. A little research shows that those tags follow the descriptions in the original score (e.g. http://hz.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/0/07/IMSLP394103-PMLP02982-N55005962_(BWV_988).pdf) which is somewhat ironic as Hewitt is playing on a piano not a harpsichord. Other recordings (e.g. this one: https://musicbrainz.org/release/b304abb5-c039-494f-bc50-37490aca74c5) use the titles as in the score which are (presumably - I don’t have it) on the sleevenotes.

It seems to me that the original score titles should be in the work names, rather than just plain “Variation 1” etc. The track titles should be what is on the cover etc. Even if a variation is played on the piano, it is nice to know that it was written for “2 Clav.” as you can appreciate the hand-crossing tricks the musician is having to perform.

That said, I am loathe to change the titles of such an important work without some general agreement. Views?


I think it sounds reasonable, but let’s see what @ProfChris (who’s cleaning up all the Bach) thinks :slight_smile:


I think we probably should amend the titles, but this raises some further questions.

  • Should we change “Variation” to the Italian “Variatio” as in the score you linked to?
  • That score is a facsimile of Bach’s own copy (only discovered in 1974), and he added some annotations to what had been printed – for example, variation 7 “al tempo di Giga”. Do we include those (as it seems IMSLP has done in its list of titles)?


I think that is correct, since the rest of it is in Italian also.

There are several with tempo annotations and my vote would be to include these.


But ‘variatio’ is Latin, not Italian.


Right, my mistake.

As the overall title “Goldberg Variations” is English, maybe it makes some sense to use “Variation” for the individual pieces (unless we want to change the overall title, which would open a new can of worms).

EDIT: Just realized that the primary name is in German in MB – so maybe the above point is moot.


IMO when naming works like these we need to balance three elements: the score; the catalogue (for main works); and ease of location when searching. IMO the most important is common usage combined with ease of location, but retaining as much score info as possible. I suggest the following.
For the BWV 988 main work I would use “Goldberg-Variationen, BWV 988” as is in MB already, representing common usage and the catalogue in IMSLP, but I would consider adding an alias of “Aria mit verschiedenen Veränderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen” representing the score title.
For the movements I would use the style “Goldberg-Variationen, BWV 988: Variatio 1. a 1 Clav.” as in the score and IMSLP but in addition I would include an alias of the style “Goldberg-Variationen, BWV 988: Variation 1” to help the search engine locate the correct movement.
IMO these are a reasonable compromise.


Speaking about aliases, I don’t think I made a lot of noise for one script (bitbucket, greasyfork) that copies recording names into work aliases (applied on the given work aliases page).

All I need now is a script to transform a work alias into the work title…


OK, thanks, will do that when I get a mo.
And the script should mean I can do the aliases from the Hewitt release :crossed_fingers:


How does this script work? I looked on a work page and couldn’t spot anything.


The script work on the “Aliases” tab and displays a list of the existing recording names. Looks like I have a bug and the list appears only if the Work already have aliases though, I’ll have to fix that


The script seems to be there when there are aliases. However, I wonder how useful it is in the current case. You have to open each sub-work and then you get a (sometimes) very long list of recording names to choose from. The alternative (push vs pull) would be to select tracks on a release and push the titles of these to be aliases of the associated works (with language / primary attributes?).


Clearly not since the goal is to add aliases (like work names in different languages). I mentioned it here because I thought those reading this thread would be interested in adding aliases easily


Made the edits on the Goldberg variations as suggested by @ProfChris in case anyone wishes to add notes/vote (please query first rather than vote against :wink:)