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Glenn Gould Edition - Chopin, Mendelssohn, Scriabin, Et Al


Release Date: 06/27/1995 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 52622   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinFelix MendelssohnAlexander ScriabinSergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Glenn Gould
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 45 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Iconoclastic takes on Romantic masterpieces that are at times infuriating, other times mesmerizing, often both.

Recordings taken from CBC television transmissions from CBC Studios, Toronto on December 9th, 1970 and September lst-4th, 1967.

While most of us turn gratefully to music we cherish and admire, Glenn Gould often performed and even recorded music he despised. And reading his accompanying comments - an infuriating mix of brilliance and jargon, insight and psycho-babble - the omens are not good. "Whenever Chopin tackled large-scale forms and tried to write pieces demanding a high degree of organization he almost invariably came to grief." To illustrate his point Gould chooses the Third
Read more Sonata, anaesthetizes it and after "freezing up the heat of life" applies his surgeon's scalpel. Chopin's occasional flutter with a form of romantic polyphony (the start of the development of the first movement) momentarily engages his sympathy, but elsewhere the essentially vocal conception of keyboard writing and the ecstatic entwining of melody and counter-melody are clearly viewed as frivolous. The overall result is so literal and Teutonic that it left this listener, at least, stranded, gasping for air and longing to break Gould's stranglehold. His didacticism in the finale's exultant bravura is notably perverse and rarely have I heard a performance by a great pianist that more obviously declares his limitations.

Gould's Mendelssohn is scarcely less cramped (though he responds to the hymnal pieties of the Song without Words. op. 30 No. 3 with surprising warmth) but his Scriabin is, arguably, as mesmeric as it is strange. All listeners nurtured on an ultraromantic Russian tradition will jettison Gould's alternative and spring more than a few questions. Why so ponderous in the powerfully striding drammatico rhythm of the Third Sonata's opening? Since when is a languorous Andantino the same as Presto con allegrezza in the Fifth Sonata? From anyone else such things would be unacceptable. But from Gould you pause to reconvene, to reconsider and note that there is nothing random or inchoate about his conclusions. Both these performances, together with some wintry Prokofiev, hold a powerful and compelling fascination.

The final record contains a damp squib rather than a jeu d'esprit (the Strauss Burleske was another work that gave Gould heartache rather than joy) and a heavily personalized, monochrome Beethoven Emperor Concerto. Here, once again, are rhythms in the opening flourishes articulated like so much phonetic spelling and a deliberately poker-faced, uninflected response to the Adagio's espressivo. Conductor and orchestra fight to match their soloist's aggression but end sounding tubthumping and militaristic. Gould was, incidentally, a last-minute replacement in the Beethoven for the ever-indisposed Michelangeli, a situation that provoked the impish riposte from Gould, "My God, just think that the Number One pianist is going to substitute for Number Two". All these discs contain either previously unreleased material or first authorized issues.

-- Gramophone [4/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, B 155/Op. 58 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 07/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 25 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC radio broadcast. 
2.
Songs without words, vol 1, Op. 19b: no 1, Andante con moto in E major "Sweet Remembrance" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
3.
Songs without words, vol 1, Op. 19b: no 2, Andante espressivo in A minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC radio broadcast. 
4.
Songs without words, vol 7, Op. 85: no 2, Allegro agitato in A minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC radio broadcast. 
5.
Songs without words, vol 7, Op. 85: no 5, Allegretto in A major by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC radio broadcast. 
6.
Songs without words, vol 2, Op. 30: no 3, Andante sostenuto in E major by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1834; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/23/1970 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC radio broadcast. 
7.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 33: no 3 in C major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 0 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC television broadcast and is a mono recording. 
8.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 45: no 3, Prélude by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC television broadcast and is a mono recording. 
9.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 49: no 2, Prélude by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC television broadcast and is a mono recording. 
10.
Feuillet d'album, Op. 58 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC television broadcast and is a mono recording. 
11.
Visions fugitives (20) for Piano, Op. 22: no 2, Andante by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1917; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1974 
Venue:  CBC Studios, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: This selection originated as a CBC television broadcast and is a mono recording. 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in F sharp minor, Op. 23 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; Russia 
Venue:  CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City 
Length: 23 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City (01/1968 - 02/1968) 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 5 in F sharp major, Op. 53 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 07/1970 
Venue:  CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City 
Length: 13 Minutes 10 Secs. 
14.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939-1942; USSR 
Venue:  CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City 
Length: 19 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: CBS 30th Street Studio, New York City (06/1967 - 07/1967) 
15.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 57: no 1, Désir by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/13/1972 
Venue:  Eatn's Auditorium, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
16.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 57: no 2, Caresse dansée by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Glenn Gould (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/13/1972 
Venue:  Eatn's Auditorium, Toronto, Canada 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 

Sound Samples

I. Allegro maestoso
II. Scherzo. Molto vivace
III. Largo
IV. Finale. Presto non tanto
Song Without Words in E Major, Op. 19, No. 1
Song Without Words in A minor, Op. 19, No. 2
Song Without Words in A minor, Op. 85, No. 2
Song Without Words in A Major, Op. 85, No. 5
Song Without Words in E Major, Op. 30, No. 3
Prelude in C Major, Op. 33, No. 1 (1903)
Prelude in E-Flat Major, Op. 45, No. 3 (1904)
Prelude in F Major, Op. 49, No. 2 (1905)
Feuillet d'album, Op. 58 (1910)
Vision fugitive, Op. 22, No. 2
I. Drammatico
II. Allegretto
III. Andante - attacca:
IV. Presto con fuoco - Maestoso
Piano Sonata No. 5 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 53
I. Allegro inquieto - Andantino
II. Andante caloroso
III. Precipitato
No. 1: Désir
No. 2: Caresse dansée

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