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Since 1726 Bach had published his compositions for piano and organ in several parts as "Clavier-Übung". In 1741, the fourth and final part, the Goldberg Variations, was published. The connection between the work and the Bach pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg goes back to an anecdote by Johann Nikolaus Forkels. In his Bach biography from 1802, he describes that Goldberg always had to play the variations at night "during insomnia" for his employer, the Russian envoy at the Dresden court, Hermann Carl von Keyserlingk.

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