Anthology for Listening Vol. I. NOTES ON A POSSIBLE PERFORMANCE




A more elaborated and precise title could be:

Notes for a possible performance of the work: The Goldberg Variation (Bach Clock) – for one, two or more pianists, 2012 by Jesper Norda

Proposed by possible project manager at Bureau for Listening

What if we performed The Goldberg Variation (Bach Clock), by Jesper Norda? How would such a work be performed – and what does it even mean to perform such a piece? The following attempts, softly and speculatively, to be proposal notes for a possible future performance.


By focusing on the minimalism, time-expansion and ‘mindfulness’ of the actual musical piece, we propose to the listener to consider the richness of their own inner thoughts and sensing of the room and the people around them. We propose a long term investment and endurance in the primal premises such as offering attention, slow breathing and actual relaxation – as a way of listening and being.

  • When attempting to perform the piece; what kind of listening is then hoped for?
    • What kind of listening is hoped for to appear when listening to the meditative rhythm of the 12,5 hours piece, consisting of stroking a different note every 2 seconds following the original Johan Sebastian Bach score (1741), performed live by switching pianists? 


  • In what way will a long duration of time and listening relate to, and depend on, one another during the performance? 


  • What is the implication of letting the audience lie down on the floor of a grand theater hall? Between the seats or on stage? What are the implications and effects by having the room darkened, offering blankets, hot drinks, warm socks and smiles?

Possible schedule for pianists: 

  • Pianist 1: Take up position at the piano, ready for playing at 08:00 CMT+1 – when ready, start playing the score (one note every 2nd second)
  • Continue for 1 hour, while pianist 2 take up position at the piano, ready for overtake the playing when the hour have passed
    • There must be a constant playing of the score for the duration of the piece
  • Continuation of above, by switching pianist every hour, for the duration of the piece

Possible schedule for audience: 

  • Enter the room quietly, attentively and curiously after introduction by hosts (outside of the room) 
  • Take up a place quitely
    • [Blankets, socks, tea and other equipment for the performance will be available at in convenient place]
  • Stay for as long you find necessary in order to help fulfill the work 
  • [make sure, that you as audience is respectful and sensitive towards fellow audiences, the pianists, the music and the situation in general]

Music excerpt from the Goldberg Variation (Bach Clock), proposed to be played live in its full length


Excerpt starting at page 303 in the score.

Below: the introduction to the piece and an excerpt from the 2016 published book containing the score for the entire piece. Published by Rojal forlag, Göteborg.

The Goldberg Variation (Bach Clock)

– for one, two or more pianists


This piece consists of all notes (including ornaments) in The Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.


Duration 12 hours and 28 minutes


Performing instructions, one pianist:

– play the whole piece from beginning to end

– or choose parts by random


Performing instructions, two or more pianists:

– take turns and play the whole piece form the beginning to end

– or choose parts by random. Play any part at any time, overlapping or not overlapping. Tempo must always be maintained (but no need to be in sync).


The Goldberg Variation (Bach Clock) may be played while the video 13 Hour Sunrise is running in background


/Jesper Norda, September 2016