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Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 [CD]

Glenn Gould Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 + Bach: The Goldberg Variations 1955 + Bach: The Art of the Fugue
Price For All Three: 14.75

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Product details

  • Performer: Glenn Gould
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (26 July 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B0002ISFRU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,739 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Goldberg Variations, BWV 988"
2. Aria
3. Variation 1 a 1 Clav.
4. Variation 2 a 1 Clav.
5. Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Unisono
6. Variation 4 a 1 Clav.
7. Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
8. Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda
9. Variation 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
10. Variation 8 a 2 Clav.
11. Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza
12. Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta
13. Variation 11 a 2 Clav.
14. Variation 12 Canone alla Quarta
15. Variation 13 a 2 Clav.
16. Variation 14 a 2 Clav.
17. Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante
18. Variation 16 a 1 Clav. Overture
19. Variation 17 a 2 Clav.
20. Variation 18 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Sesta
See all 34 tracks on this disc

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This work cannot be summarised with a "tagline" 22 Mar 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love Bach's music, and generally insist on two things; firstly, that it is played a little slower than we are generally served it; and secondly that it is played on the instruments it was written for. When I first heard Glenn Gould's 1981 recording, I realised how ridiculous that second requirement was, and how important that first requirement was. The music on this album just swept me away. There is no other recording of the Goldberg Variations that I've listened to that even comes close to it.

The technical mastery of Gould goes without saying, but what really struck me with this recording was the spirit with which this music is played - the feeling which Gould breathes into the work. This is most evident in the slower pieces, particularly the opening Aria, which take you on a journey of the most exquisite emotions. In almost every variation, Gould picks you up and takes you where he is going with it.

I lack the words to describe it - words ike "subliminal", "instropective" come to mind, and above all "human". Bach can be played very mechanically, but not here. Complimented by Gould's ghostly humming, occasionally rising to the level of audibility, Aria, and Canone della Quinta sound like they come straight from the soul. This music lifts you into another world.

Not once does he use the pedals.

This is just mind-blowing - buy it!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinnacle of piano playing! 9 Feb 2009
By Scriabinmahler TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Every time I listen to this recording, it never fails to fill me with a sense of awe, and I can not help thinking that the fate had ordained that the recording itself became the concluding aria to his short yet fulfilled life. It will remain as the pinnacle of art of piano playing as long as mankind lives on this planet.

Gavrilov tried to out do this performance (in fact he plays some variations even faster), but does not come even close in terms of technical ease and the transcendental quality of the music making. I will strongly recommend the DVD of this amazing recording too. This performance must be watched as well as listened to, to be fully appreciated Glenn Gould - The Goldberg Variations [1981].
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes he humms, but thats not a bad thing! 28 Aug 2008
Format:Audio CD
I feel compelled to write this review as I think it is slightly unfair to give a one-star review based on his constant humming.

I think the first thing to say is that the Goldberg Variations is a fantastic piece of music, and is pretty much infallable as far as music goes. Goulds playing achives a great depth and variety of tone, whilst maintaining a strong sence of clarity that lets all of Bach's lines sing through, I think Gould has achieved something mind-blowing here!

Whilst at first one could find the performance marred by his constant humming, and it is prevelant, especially when listening on headphones, it is worth listening past. I think it provides a unique insight into how he is shaping the music that we don't often hear. To be honest I find myself humming along (no doubt somewhat encouraged) and its interesting to see where I differ from Gould. I think that without the humming his peformance wouldn't shine as much as it does. There is a reason why it's a favorite on desert island disks!

All in all an amazing CD, at an amazing price!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 14 July 2009
Format:Audio CD
Unless you listen to this CD on headphones, you should be able to ignore the slight remnants of trademark Gould humming in the background. As a newcomer to Bach keyboard works, this has to be THE starting point in my opinion. And the interview bonus track at the end is unmissable. The wit and the dryness by both Gould and Page in their conversation is a joy to behold - very much of their era :-) I did not really like Bach keyboard works until i listened to this CD. And even as a non expert in Bach (I do know classical music pretty well from Mozart onwards) I can tell there are some liberties with the use of tempi by Gould, but that actually is done for good reason which he explains very well in the interview. I used to find it difficult to forgive Gould for the way he has ruined my enjoyment of my beloved Mozart and Brahms when I have listened to his CDs of works by those composers, but when i heard this I felt all was forgiven and I have since bought other Gould CDs in the Bach series.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical 9 Aug 2008
By OK13
Format:Audio CD
Glenn Gould is simply the master of this set, and in my opinion, this is the greatest recording ever made, even the 1955 doesnt come close.

its not the velocity of the recording that makes it magical, but rather the passion with which the music is performed.

and no, gould's voice doesnt bother me at all, in fact, it adds to the uniqueness of the recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 July 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Does what it says on the tin
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb piece, excellent delivery by Gould 5 May 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Goldberg variations are a really atmospheric piece, and Gould's performance is often pointed to as the gold (or Gould?) standard recording.
I've listened to it to unwind and help myself fall asleep (which Bach claimed the piece was written to help his patron do) to focus and deliver my own creative effort, and just to enjoy an excellent piece, played on an excellent instrument by an excellent perfomer.
It can't really be described.
Buy it, hear it...again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely music 20 April 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A performance by a master of the craft and well worth having in the collection. Good recording to have as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Wow, it doesn't get much better than this. Listened to the aria before I went into my PhD viva (worrying parallels with Hannibal Lecter?).
Published 7 months ago by David Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
The best Goldberg by far. I bought this recording in 1982 on LP and played it over and over again. Goodness knows what happened to that old record, but now I can relive these... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Count Crawfard
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't get enough of this!
Let me say that I'm no classical music or Bach afficionado, but Gould playing these archtypal Bach melodies has me absolutely spellbound!
Published 10 months ago by Michael Badu
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is to say which is better? The '55 or the '81
Well this is a personal review. So I get to say which is better.
It's the '81 by a mile.
Published 13 months ago by michael gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!
If I say that Glen Gould's performance is one of genius and the recording is superb, I'm really not sure how to describe Mr Bach's music........... Read more
Published 14 months ago by G. C. Hurrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
This is just a combination of two great masters on disc - a great recording - can be listened to often
Published 16 months ago by Mr Andrew W N Probert
4.0 out of 5 stars Seminal recording
As brilliant and perfect an interpretation as is ever likely to be performed. Not only is the music in itself the ultimate for the style, but the musical expression is second to... Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by TimB
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic
Yes, I know that Gould 'tinkered' with the recording process - in fact, he used the studio as an artistic tool in itself. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by AbsoluteClassical
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Bach
Whatever one's thoughts about Gould as an odd Canadian eccentric, there simply is no better guide to the keyboard pieces by Bach. Read more
Published on 30 April 2010 by Mr. Raymond L. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I came across the Goldberg Variations when listening to a Radio 4 programme. Since then i've hardly turned it off. Read more
Published on 25 April 2010 by P. Merritt
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