Goldberg’s Variations

Mr. Biskin's jazz score seems to emanate from the inventions. But he has also written themes and interludes that capture the wheels turning in Goldberg's mind as well as in his devices.

—Laurel Graeber, The New York Times

Fun, fun, fun!

—Jim Macnie, The Village Voice

Composer and clarinetist Andy Biskin takes cartoon music to a new level.

—Michelle Mercer, Time Out New York

In naming his recent suite Goldberg's Variations, Biskin pays homage to both the engineered elegance of Bach and the jazz age lunacy of Rube. Biskin has created computer animations of 12 Goldberg gag panels, setting the resulting cartoons to music. Between cartoons, the sextet performed Biskin's "Interludes." The difference in experience was palpable: The cartoon accompaniments are punchy with trombone bellows, clarinet bleats, and drum thumps anthropomorphizing into sound effects; the "Interludes" (especially "Hourglass") travel from Ellington élan to Rite of Spring dissonance, purveying a mood somewhat at odds with Goldberg's whimsy. There's humor in Biskin's music, but also something smoky and dark: the insouciant collisions within urban culture that gave rise to modernity.

—R.C. Baker, Village Voice