The Britten Sinfonia’s Associate Leader, Thomas Gould directs the ensemble in Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s beautifully realised and heartfelt arrangement for strings of Bach’s great keyboard work, 'The Goldberg Variations'. Sitkovetsky’s arrangement (first conceived for string trio and later expanded for string orchestra), made in 1985 on the 300th anniversary of Bach’s birth, is lovingly and painstakingly done. He dedicates the string trio arrangement to Glenn Gould, and it is clear from much of the written-out ornamentation that Gould’s recordings of the Goldbergs were Sitkovetsky’s passport into the music.
The use of string instruments offers a range of expressive possibilities that a keyboard instrument does not, including the possibility of tuning notes expressively and colouring notes with vibrato but Sitkovetsky’s real triumph is to preserve the simplicity of texture and clarity of development that characterises Bach’s masterpiece, and as such is a true celebration of Bach’s vision.
Founded in 1992, the Britten Sinfonia is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through a deep commitment to bringing outstanding music to both the world’s finest concert halls but also the local community. One of the world’s most celebrated and pioneering ensembles it breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor or director, instead choosing to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum, resulting in performances of rare insight and energy. Britten Sinfonia is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London and has residencies across the east of England in Norwich, Brighton and Cambridge, where it is the University’s orchestra-in-association. The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including Aldeburgh and the BBC Proms. Their growing international profile includes regular touring including in February 2012, its North American debut at Lincoln Centre, New York.
“[Sitkovetsky's arrangement] opens up to the counterpoints within the music, as well as allowing the greater variation of colour and dynamics possible on strings...Led by Thomas Gould the Britten Sinfonia play with sinuous beauty and virtuosic clarity, with no clattering continuo instrument clogging the textures.” The Times