in a recent post i was considering the restlessness of the Goldberg Variations and how strange it is that it may have been written to soothe Count Kaiserling’s insomnia(1938). And, ironically, after reviewing all 30 variations, i can empirically report that the only measures with any moments of actual “silence” are the measures either at the very end of a variation or in the measures where there is a repeat back to the beginning (so that a slight rest occurs before repeating). These moments of “silence” are only eighth rests and are only in variations 4, 14, 17, 20, and 23.
Not so sure if this would work for my own restless nights, but it certainly has quieted my racing mind when playing it; can’t really possibly think about other things while trying to play all of those notes so fast! Maybe this was what Kaiserling was after; something to take his mind off of it’s own cycling gears, rather than something that would relax him to sleep. i think harp music might have a better chance that the “plink” of the harpsichord that the Goldberg Variations would’ve been played on during the Count’s restless nights….
here’s a really funny/quirky take on “restless finger syndrome.”
Kirkpatrick, Ralph (1938). Edition of the Goldberg Variations. New York/London: G. Schirmer, 1938