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Bach: Goldberg Variations (1955 Recording) / Glenn Gould


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Cbs Great Performances Catalog #: 38479   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Glenn Gould
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 38 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is where the legend began. The 22-year-old Gould, fresh from his first American concert appearances, insisted on making his 1955 recording debut with Bach's 'Goldberg Variations.' That it is now one of Bach's most familiar compositions is due in no small part to Gould, who made it a best-selling record by remaking it through his own style and personality. This remains a dazzling record, with astonishing dexterity and an impulsive sense of abandon in the more virtuosic variations; the cascading 23rd variation is a special treat, and several others fly past at fantastic speed while never forfeiting clarity. Gould realized before most that Bach's ingenious counterpoint and elaborate structures don't need to be dry or academic. In Gould's Read more world, a touch of whimsy, an eccentric indulgence, and a bit of virtuosic display aren't incompatible with taking Bach seriously.
Gould's re-recording of the 'Goldberg Variations' in 1981 is generally seen as his definitive interpretation, and some live performances of it have also been released. With a work this rich and full of possibilities, and with a personality as changeable as Gould's, each version is engaging in its own way. But to understand Gould's place in musical history, the 1955 debut is essential. Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1955 
Venue:  Columbia Recording Studios, 30th St, NYC 
Length: 38 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Nuremberg, Germany (1741 - 1742). 

Sound Samples

Aria (1955 Version)
Variation 1 a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 2 a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all' Unisuono (1955 Version)
Variation 4 a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda (1955 Version)
Variation 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 8 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza (1955 Version)
Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta (1955 Version)
Variation 11 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 12 Canone alla Quarta (1955 Version)
Variation 13 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 14 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante (1955 Version)
Variation 16 Ouverture a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 17 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 18 - Canone alla Sesta a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 19 a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 20 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 21 Canone alla Settima (1955 Version)
Variation 22 Alla breve a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 23 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 24 Canone all' Ottava a 1 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 25 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 26 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 27 Canone alla Nona (1955 Version)
Variation 28 a 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. (1955 Version)
Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet (1955 Version)
Aria da capo (1955 Version)

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