"When a choreographer turns masterworks of music into danced movement, the audience can sometimes witness fascinating metamorphoses. And this is precisely what Daniel Goldin achieves in his “Brahms. Variationen”. Far from being a precise, note-for-note translation of Brahms’ three cycles of variations on themes of his fellow-composers Schumann, Haydn and Handel, the highly musical dance creator Goldin and his eight-person ensemble capture the moods and rhythms of the musician in carefully composed recreations. ... That fact that Goldin uses only Brahm’s piano versions for this chamber ballett, and also has them played from tape, underlines the respectful “counterpart” effect. For like Brahms, Goldin is neither a “modernist” nor an “imitator”. But both modestly refer to the great traditions and build bridges between those traditions and the present. Reinhard Hubert’s light design perfectly underscores the musical expression. ... “Brahms. Variationen” is a dance work for the eyes and the ears. After John Cranko in Stuttgart and leonid Massine, the choreographer of the legendary Ballett Russes, ... Daniel Goldin is the first to rediscover the “untheatrical” composer Brahms for the dance stage. Goldin’s choice of the “Variations” is highly convincing in the choreographic stringeny with which he puts them on stage”

Marieluise Jeitschko, Neue Westfälische, 7 December 2004

"Not only in the successful interpretation of the music ... and the recognition that musical variations are capable of astoundingly diverse and emotionally intense expression in dance – probably the most fascinating  aspect of the evening was to be found in the stage set: a plain, undercooled space bathed in seawater green, in which the eight dancers danced for an hour in ankle-deep water. What initially caused slight irritations rapidly developed into a work in its own right, sometimes forming an electrifying synthesis with the piano music, and sometimes seeming to exist independently of it. From the first, almost fearful contact with the water, through a passionate scene of arrival, to a state of being in the water together, the dancers used all the possibilities offered by the element. ... The dance ensemble of Münster City Theatre and its choreographer Daniel Goldin once again put on a brilliant performance.”

Petra Faryn, Die Glocke, 6 December 2004

"On the stage is water, a hand’s breadth deep. The water surface appears as harmless as a carpet, but there is nothing soft and fluffy in this work. In his latest choreography, Daniel Goldin demands everything of his dancers, and not only from a technical point of view: ... They first have to shy away from the water, and subsequently wallow in it. Initially, the contact is hesitant, but Goldin increasingly chases this shyness away. At the close, the dancers even seem to fuse with the element. ... Hair, clothes, body: everything is wet, everything is heavy. ... With “Brahms. Variationen”, Goldin engages in a highly formal and aesthetic dialogue with the music, using a form language which compared to his previous works is surprisingly sunny and playful. With a sophisticated melange of colour, light, shade, water and reflections, Goldin creates warm shining images. ... Great applause.”

Sabine Müller, Münstersche Zeitung, 6 December 2004

“The choreography counterpoints the music of Brahms, the not yet 30-year-old “genius”, deriving irony, and even playfulness – right up to synchronised  somersaults from the romantic and romanticising chords. But at the same time, Goldin’s interpretation stays very close to the music. His specific body language – and that of his ensemble – consists of rapid, recurring movements, gestures that frequently intensify into moments of captivity in repetition. This is contrasted with sequences that are stretched as in a dream. This almost has the appearance of walking on water. All of this obviously goes with the music, but nevertheless also reflects ruptures. And the whole matter of dancing in the water: This further intensifies the synaesthetic effect.”

Markus Termeer, taz nrw, 11 December 2004

“In Münster, Daniel Goldin has put together his own “Brahms. Variationen” from three of Johannes Brahms’ piano compositions. He has put the one-hour choreography on flat, bare feet and in a water bed... He begins with long arm-swinging movements, which he combines, at first calmly and deliberately, with walks and runs of increasing speed, and ultimately also in the thrashing water. Only in the second half of the performance do the movements tend more towards the ground. The water, into which the dancers let themselves drop, increasingly becomes the most important element in this three-parter. ... The choreography, which at first is predominantly “original”,  acquires a naturalness of its own, and climbs to orgiastic heights: Goldin’s best work for a long time.”

Jochen Schmidt, balletanz -Nr. 2, February 2005

“A green drawing room opens up before the audience, like a reminiscence of cultivated society gatherings to the accompaniment of piano music. Then, as Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann” begin – extremely softly and as from distance – the dancers suddenly slip out onto the stage through the rotatable walls created by stage designer Matthias Dietrich, appearing like ghostly chimeras of a time long gone. But it must have been a mischievous spirit who instructed them. For this drawing room is no longer home to stately gravity, but to wit and playfulness... To imaginatively changing light effects, Goldin goes from lyrical ornateness to clownesque water ballett, with a movement vocabulary that while reminiscent of the pathos-laden expressive dance of the Twenties and Thirties, repeatedly undermines it with flashes of humour... Daniel Goldin interprets Brahms’ severely formalistic variations with dance of an ironic post-modern flavour. And thanks to the manageable culinary portions of the work, the fluid changes between solos, duos and ensemble choreography, and also the impressive wealth of movement, the associations of the audience follow row on row...enabling them to take home a picture of Brahms that has a smile – yet another variation on a cliché.”

Nicole Strecker, WDR3 - Mosaik, 6 December 2004

"The first quarter of the performance belongs to the woman...But when the men take over, Goldin not only puts an end to the isolation of the individuals, he also persuades them to accept water as their true element. With ever new run-ups, the choreographer drives his now complete ensemble to a great dancing crescendo: the movement gains fullness and richness. So  Goldin’s “Brahms. Variationen” proves one of the best dance works of the season.”

Jochen Schmidt, Die Welt, 24 December 2004

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