Tuesday, October 26

Brighton Festival – Mahan Esfahani; Bach Goldberg Variations

- May 26, 2011

Mahan Esfahani, a young Iranian now based in England, played Bach’s epic Goldberg Variations and held a capacity audience spellbound for 100 minutes. The charm was unbroken even through the interval. His harpsichord produced sounds that matched one of Brighton’s most exotic chambers for fantastical colours and complexity. These thirty variations are a collection of canons, musical riddles and elaborations. They are by turns stately, playful, muted, dancing, almost frantic by the end, but each one exquisite and delightful. Bach supposedly composed them to cheer up the sleepless nights of a Russian ambassador. He was rewarded with 100 gold coins in a golden goblet. This evening, with impeccable style, Mahan Esfahani demonstrated just what a wonderful bargain this was.

The Music Room, Royal Pavilion, 25 May

Andrew Connal

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