Nikolaso Laaris


parallax (n.)

"apparent displacement of an object observed, due to an actual displacement of the observer,” from Greek parallaxis "change, alteration”, from parallassein "to alter, make things alternate," from para- "beside, near" + allassein "to change," from allos “other".


Nikolaos Laaris recorded this album, “Parallax” in 2004 on a Steinway piano, at the “Dimitris Mitropoulos” Hall of the Athens Concert Hall, after his collaboration with the Ballet Theater München in Philip Taylor’s choreography of the Goldberg Variationen, thanks to a generous grant of the J. F. Costopoulos Foundation.


The art of variation: an art that, in the western music, creates masterpieces throughout the centuries. Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, probably the peak of this art form for a keyboard instrument, comprises of 30 variations on an Aria, and is composed with the baroque compositional technique of the passacaglia, where the harmonic base remains virtually intact through the end of the piece. A work organised with great regularity: divided in two, as the 16th variation, a French Overture, functions as a new start, but also in ten sets of three variations each, where every third variation is a canon (with the exception of the very last one, which is an also contrapuntal quodlibet, with popular melodies of Bach’s time.) A work though, also seemingly lacking in regularity, if the fermatas of the first edition (1741) are taken into consideration, where there are seven pairs of variations, a set of three and a set of four variations (6-8 and 2-5 accordingly), while 9 others stand alone.


Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949), a student of Arnold Schönberg in Berlin, returns to the baroque compositional form of passacaglia, and composes his own Passacaglia in Athens (1940), as the 15th of his 32 Piano Pieces collection, a work with 20 variations, during which the bass line progressively ascends to higher voices. Skalkottas had started his compositional studies with Philip Jarnach, and, as a result, he composed his brilliant 15 Little Variations (Vienna, 1927), where each variation has a distinct character, ranging from a Greek folk dance, to the prayer-like music of the last pages.



1. Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949) - 15 Little Variations (1927)

2. Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949) - Passacaglia (1940) 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) - Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

3. Aria

4. Variation 1

5. Variation 2

6. Variation 3 - Canone all’ Unisono

7. Variation 4

8. Variation 5

9. Variation 6 - Canone alla Seconda

10. Variation 7

11. Variation 8

12. Variation 9 - Canone alla Terza

13. Variation 10 - Fughetta

14. Variation 11

15. Variation no 12 - Canone alla Quarta

16. Variation 13

17. Variation 14

18. Variation 15 - Canone alla Quinta - Andante

19. Variation no 16 - Overture

20. Variation 17

21. Variation 18 - Canone alla Sesta

22. Variation 19

23. Variation 20

24. Variation 21 - Canone alla Settima

25. Variation 22

26. Variation 23

27. Variation 24 - Canone all’ Ottava

28. Variation 25

29. Variation 26

30. Variation 27 - Canone alla Nona

31. Variation 28

32. Variation 29

33. Variation 30 - Quodlibet

34. Aria da capo



Recording: Athens Concert Hall

Musical Production: George Savvides

Executive Producer: Georgina Merentiti

Copyright: Sophocles Sapounas - Erateio Odeon