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Lang Lang - Bach: Goldberg Variations

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Lang Lang

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To record the Golberg Variations, the absolute pinnacle of western works on harpsichord and the apotheosis of the Baroque era, is the ultimate dream for many musicians. Lang Lang, who admits to have studied the fourth section of the Clavierübung by the Cantor of Leipzig for over twenty years, is no exception. This collection offers two interpretations of the same work. Firstly, a studio version, captured beautifully at the Berlin Jesus-Christus Kirche in March 2020 under the supervision of Christopher Alder, in which Lang Lang displays more measured tempos, particularly in the the initial aria and the first variation. This approach begins to animate itself more in the next section before the first variation in G minor which is slow, sluggish-sounding and unrelenting, taking on a stubborn and repetitive saraband rhythm - a remarkable conclusion to the first section. The outburst of the French Ouverture of Variation 16 is nothing short of spectacular. The following variations pass quickly before the second variation in G minor (Var. 21, Conone alla Settima.), with its very depressive phrasing, an imaginary Tombeau which momentarily instills an impressive gravity. Lang Lang nevertheless remains indifferent to the intrinsic structure of the Goldberg Variations, organised into ten successive groups of three variations with each group finishing with an increasingly complex canon (from the Var. 3’s Canone all’Unisono to Var.27’s Canone all Nona). For the Chinese pianist, his expressive heart seems to concentrate on the three minor key variations, and he doesn’t hesitate to project a Baroque expressionism that finishes the Golbergs with a touch of pathos and romanticism alongside a rounded and silky sound.


The energy of the Leipzig public, on the 5 of March 2020, adds a welcome characteristic. During the concert, recorded by Philip Krause, who also accompanied Alder during his studio recording, Lang Lang has fun with the polyphony, beginning with the Aria. Here, he dances and injects subtle variations into the accents, thus opening up a wider and more diverse field of expression (Var. 1, Var. 7). Mischievous (Variation 23 has 2 harpsichords!), Lang Lang lets his imagination run rampant and the emotion that ensues is truly striking (Var. 21, with its obsessive delays). A certain weight is lifted, even in the way the harpsichord sounds, which bears witness to how the Chinese pianist’s sound has changed over the last fifteen years. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Lang Lang

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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

1
Aria
00:05:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

2
Variatio 1 a 1 Clav.
00:02:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
Variatio 2 a 1 Clav.
00:01:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

4
Variatio 3 Canone all'Unisono. a 1 Clav.
00:03:09

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

5
Variatio 4 a 1 Clav.
00:01:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

6
Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
00:01:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

7
Variatio 6 Canone alla Seconda. a 1 Clav.
00:01:12

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

8
Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Al tempo di Giga
00:02:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

9
Variatio 8 a 2 Clav.
00:02:02

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

10
Variatio 9 Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav.
00:02:14

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

11
Variatio 10 Fughetta. a 1 Clav.
00:01:40

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

12
Variatio 11 a 2 Clav.
00:02:29

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

13
Variatio 12 Canone alla Quarta. (a 1 Clav.)
00:02:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

14
Variatio 13 a 2 Clav.
00:06:09

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

15
Variatio 14 a 2 Clav.
00:02:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

16
Variatio 15 Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav. Andante
00:06:18

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

17
Variatio 16 Ouverture. a 1 Clav.
00:02:45

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

18
Variatio 17 a 2 Clav.
00:02:01

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

19
Variatio 18 Canone alla Sesta. a 1 Clav.
00:01:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

20
Variatio 19 a 1 Clav.
00:01:15

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

21
Variatio 20 a 2 Clav.
00:02:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

22
Variatio 21 Canone alla Settima. (a 1 Clav.)
00:04:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

23
Variatio 22 a 1 Clav. Alla breve
00:01:28

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

24
Variatio 23 a 2 Clav.
00:02:13

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

25
Variatio 24 Canone all'Ottava. a 1 Clav.
00:03:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

26
Variatio 25 a 2 Clav. Adagio
00:10:09

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

27
Variatio 26 a 2 Clav.
00:01:48

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

28
Variatio 27 Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav.
00:01:37

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

29
Variatio 28 a 2 Clav.
00:02:03

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

30
Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
00:02:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

31
Variatio 30 Quodlibet. a 1 Clav.
00:02:32

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

32
Aria da Capo
00:06:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Christopher Alder, Producer - Philip Krause, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

DISC 2

1
Aria Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:04:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

2
Variatio 1 a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:59

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
Variatio 2 a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

4
Variatio 3 Canone all'Unisono. a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:03:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

5
Variatio 4 a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:01

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

6
Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:24

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

7
Variatio 6 Canone alla Seconda. a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:06

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

8
Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Al tempo di Giga Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

9
Variatio 8 a 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

10
Variatio 9 Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

11
Variatio 10 Fughetta. a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:01:40

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

12
Variatio 11 a 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

13
Variatio 12 Canone alla Quarta. (a 1 Clav.) Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:14

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

14
Variatio 13 a 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:06:13

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

15
Variatio 14 a 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:16

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

16
Variatio 15 Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav. Andante Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:07:02

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

17
Variatio 16 Ouverture. a 1 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:54

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

18
Variatio 17 a 2 Clav. Live at Thomaskirche Leipzig / 2020
00:02:01

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Lang Lang, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Daniel Müller, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Mastering Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Album Description

To record the Golberg Variations, the absolute pinnacle of western works on harpsichord and the apotheosis of the Baroque era, is the ultimate dream for many musicians. Lang Lang, who admits to have studied the fourth section of the Clavierübung by the Cantor of Leipzig for over twenty years, is no exception. This collection offers two interpretations of the same work. Firstly, a studio version, captured beautifully at the Berlin Jesus-Christus Kirche in March 2020 under the supervision of Christopher Alder, in which Lang Lang displays more measured tempos, particularly in the the initial aria and the first variation. This approach begins to animate itself more in the next section before the first variation in G minor which is slow, sluggish-sounding and unrelenting, taking on a stubborn and repetitive saraband rhythm - a remarkable conclusion to the first section. The outburst of the French Ouverture of Variation 16 is nothing short of spectacular. The following variations pass quickly before the second variation in G minor (Var. 21, Conone alla Settima.), with its very depressive phrasing, an imaginary Tombeau which momentarily instills an impressive gravity. Lang Lang nevertheless remains indifferent to the intrinsic structure of the Goldberg Variations, organised into ten successive groups of three variations with each group finishing with an increasingly complex canon (from the Var. 3’s Canone all’Unisono to Var.27’s Canone all Nona). For the Chinese pianist, his expressive heart seems to concentrate on the three minor key variations, and he doesn’t hesitate to project a Baroque expressionism that finishes the Golbergs with a touch of pathos and romanticism alongside a rounded and silky sound.


The energy of the Leipzig public, on the 5 of March 2020, adds a welcome characteristic. During the concert, recorded by Philip Krause, who also accompanied Alder during his studio recording, Lang Lang has fun with the polyphony, beginning with the Aria. Here, he dances and injects subtle variations into the accents, thus opening up a wider and more diverse field of expression (Var. 1, Var. 7). Mischievous (Variation 23 has 2 harpsichords!), Lang Lang lets his imagination run rampant and the emotion that ensues is truly striking (Var. 21, with its obsessive delays). A certain weight is lifted, even in the way the harpsichord sounds, which bears witness to how the Chinese pianist’s sound has changed over the last fifteen years. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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