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
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
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Glenn Gould (Piano)
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).
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