May 28th, 2024

Artist always finds something new in Bach’s Goldberg Variations

By Alejanda Pulido-Guzman on November 25, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido Guzman Sarah Hagen plays Goldberg Variations as part of the University of Lethbridge Music at Noon Concert Series on Tuesday at the University Recital Hall.


The University of Lethbridge hosted Sarah Hagen to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations as part of their Music at Noon Concert Series on Tuesday at the University Recital Hall.
Hagen has been awarded as Artist of the Year by both Ontario Contact (2017) and the BC Touring Council (2015), and mentioned by The Guardian (Charlottetown) as the Best Classical Performance of 2014.
She recently released her fourth solo album, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
“This is kind of a bit of an album tour, so it feels great to play the same piece over and over. Every time I perform it, I find something new that I didn’t notice before,” said Hagen.
She said that she has been on the road since August and have done a few things in October as well.
“It feels almost like normal life actually. This is my first concert playing with a mask, so that was a bit of a different experience but I’m just grateful to be able to do the concert and do it safely,” said Hagen.
After the performance, Hagen was able to answer some questions from students of different faculties.
One question was regarding how her arms felt after such an arduous performance, and she answered her arms were relaxed but she felt tired.
“I just feel like that is what I need to do, I need to give everything on stage to really bring up the expression in the music and draw people in. I would just feel wrong if I only gave half of my heart,” said Hagen.
She explained that playing that particular repertoire is exhausting as it is one of the most demanding.
“It definitely taxes the body and you have to be really in shape to play, overall physically in shape,” said Hagen.
She added that the repertoire was mentally demanding as well, as it is a very complicated piece of music and she had to stay focused, to make sure she played the right notes at the right time.
Most of her Alberta tour was postponed for another year, but she was able to play one concert in Leduc and her next stop was Vancouver Island where she would perform two chamber concerts.
Her extensive touring has taken her across Canada, to Sweden, France, Germany and Italy, and twice to New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Sarah’s third album, Women of Note, highlights two female composers of the 18th century, and was awarded the 2021 Music PEI Instrumental Recording of the Year.
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