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  • Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven Sonatas Nos. 8, 14 & 23
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Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven Sonatas Nos. 8, 14 & 23 CD

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Glenn Gould was born in Toronto in 1932, and enjoyed a privileged, sheltered upbringing in the quiet Beach neighborhood. His musical gifts became apparent in infancy, and though his parents never pushed him to become a star prodigy, he became a professional concert pianist at age fifteen, and soon gained a national reputation. By his early twenties, he was also earning recognition through ... Read more in Amazon's Glenn Gould Store

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Product details

  • Performer: Glenn Gould
  • Audio CD (31 May 2008)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B000VFGSI2
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,399 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Sonata No. 8 in C minor for Piano, Op. 13 ""Pathétique"": II. Adagio cantabile"
2. "Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ""Moonlight"""
3. "Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, ""Appassionata"""
4. I. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio
5. II. Adagio cantabile
6. III. Rondo. Allegro
7. I. Adagio sostenuto - attacca:
8. II. Allegretto - attacca:
9. III. Presto agitato
10. I. Allegro assai
11. II. Andante con moto
12. III. Allegro ma non troppo; Presto

Product Description

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By critic on 7 Sept. 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
On of the problems with the Beethoven sonatas is that finding someone with something new to say about them is difficult. Most performances are much of a muchness. Not these.
The choices of tempi are, to say the least, unusual. The first movement of the Pathetique is brisk; the first movement of the Moonlight even more so. This actually works quite well, and Gould is good at bringing out hidden voices.
It is the first movement of the Appassionata which is so bizarre. It is played at about half speed, and you sit there listening to it, expecting it to launch into an impassioned Allegro ... but no. Still, it certainly makes you listen!
These are not everyday performances, but ones which are distinctly idiosyncratic, yet work quite effectively. But don't buy them unless you're already familiar with the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By European Traveller on 16 Jun. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Don't expect this to by the "usual" recording of Beethoven. Yes, Gould uses "strange" tempi in some cases and yes, you can here him hum along at times, but there's no denying that he was a brilliant pianist who offers a fresh, yes, still fresh after all these years, and original performance.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Icy Passion in a Sweetly Morbid Liquor... 17 Jun. 2010
By B.E.F. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In order to appreciate this distinctive reading of the great f-minor Sonata Op. 57 (Beethoven had used the term "Appassionato"), it is required of the auditor that s/he must suspend his own anticipation of auditory events with this familiar piece in order to give the sound time to expand in space as the duration expands in the mind.
If one sustains the time and closely listens to Gould's diffusive vivification of Beethoven's orthographic text, an entirely new aesthetic experience is available for apprehension: un frisson nouveau--(as Victor Hugo said of Baudelaire).

It's no ordinary thing to take a slow tempo and precisely maintain it for a large span of time.
Furthermore, in tandem with his expansion of the timescale, Gould conjures new rhythms, accents, inflections, and subtle but distinctive changes in articulation and syntax.
Too, Gould effects the vocalization of the piano itself by giving the sound time to resonate and escape from the instrument.
Gould's brilliant keyboard technique is present as always, referring specifically to the actual tactile phenomenon of Gould's fingers manipulating the piano's keys.

When one learns to love Gould's sublimely meditative, synapse and imagination stimulating art, the time passes all too quickly...

Compare Kempff's 1964 reading:

Allegro assai [09:55]
Andante con moto [06:02]
Allegro ma non troppo--Presto [08:48],

with Gould's 1967 reading:

Allegro assai [15:01]
Andante con moto [11:06]
Allegro ma non troppo--Presto [05:26].

This is a Way "less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1 - Nos, 1-3, 5-10, 12-14
The Glenn Gould Edition: Ludwig Van Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Volume II
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 24 "À Thérèse" & 29 "Hammerklavier"
Beethovn: Piano Sonata No. 30; Sonata No. 31; Sonata No. 32
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Op. 10
Glenn Gould Edition: Beethoven/Liszt
Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
In addition, while there are many note-perfect readings of the 'Pathétique', Gould's clear unctuous realization of the noble Adagio cantabile is an apex of beauty not to be missed [04:41].
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Favorite Performances 14 May 2008
By Boris der Chemiker - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was the first classical music recording I remember hearing. I was four years old at the time and I was hooked. 37 years later it is still a favorite. It is true that Gould's performances of these works are unorthodox to say the least, but give the man some credit; his performances work. I am glad that Sony has re-issued this album with its original cover.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Glenn Gould 9 Feb. 2011
By fatcabral - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am not a pianist. This review is purely subjective, and not meant to be authoritative. I find Glenn Gould's interpretations to be extremely attractive, perhaps because I was never schooled in piano, although I played other instruments. To me Gould had the ability to elucidate nuances that put more conventional technique on a less accessible basis. While he was famous for his Bach treatments, he seems to have had a similar approach of trying to extract deeper meaning from all composers' works that he performed.

With Beethoven, his liner notes indicate, that meant looking beyond what he thought of as relatively thin thematic material in these three sonatas, the Pathetique, the Moonlight, and the Appassionata. He actually cites what he says is "egoistic pomposity" on Beethoven's part to describe what Gould implies was an impulse to satisfy the audiences of that day. Incidentally, Gould's irreverence for the deities we have made of some of the great composers is also very refreshing. He seems to occupy a niche where he can see through the music to the person who wrote it.

The point is that even though Gould can seemingly mock Beethoven, he serves him better than almost anybody else. Gould is the most consistent pianist for seizing the listener's attention and emotional response. If anyone thinks he plays "too slowly" because of inadequate technique, they should listen more carefully. I believe his technique was the equal of anybody's, while his interpretations are uniquely involving.

This recording has excellent sound. Though the works were performed in 1967, in a New York studio, with what sometimes sounds like an upright piano, I believe the sound is very clean and undistorted. Certainly we can detect Gould's self-accompanying sotto voce subtly modulating the keyboard sounds. I am very happy with this CD.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I never thought I would say this... 9 Feb. 2012
By JimmyHayes - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I love Glenn Gould's playing. I have since I first heard it in high school over 40 years ago. I love his Bach playing no matter how unorthodox. I love his odd fascination with Webern and Schoenberg. I have read his biographies, watched films made about him, and listened to his radio broadcasts.

I truly feel like I'm in a good position to speak about him, not as an expert on musicology or human behavior, but as a heart-felt fan. I would be hard pressed to say anything negative about him and staunchly defend him if someone criticized him unjustly.

Now, having said all that, his playing of Beethoven's 23rd sonata is the worst bit of piano playing I have ever heard!!! It's so slow and dragging in places you start to think Gould played it badly on purpose and I believe he did just that. It was known that he did not like this piece and he thought that Beethoven had gotten a fat head and written a piece of junk.

Truth be told, Gould could be a really naughty little boy sometimes. He could do something like this terrible rendition of a Beethoven sonata because he knew he could get away with it because of who he was. The number 8 sonata is great as is the Moonlight, but I would skip buying this and get a different copy of these sonatas on a different disc (there are countless other combinations of the same pieces on different discs. It's a little maddening sometimes).

Sorry Glenn. I had to say it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Gould's sonatas top the recording heap 2 April 2013
By Walter H. Combs - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Glenn Gould was an extraordinary artist. I have long been a fan of his 1980 Bach Goldberg Variations. Living in a small town/rural area, the local record stores have stocked very little classical music and jazz, so opportunities to acquire and hear great recordings like this were few. I was already familiar with these Beethoven sonatas, though, through recordings by Alfred Brendel and Daniel Barenboim, and Gould tops those, particularly Brendel's whose playing strikes me as being so eccentric to be unlistenable. Gould slows the tempo a bit in Pathetique and Moonlight and a lot on the Appassionata, which changes the interpretations in the direction of clarity, while still bringing out the beauty of the harmonic and melodic structures. Gould's overtones are crystal clear, but unlike Brendel's don't overwhelm through pedal tones and excessive speed of playing. Gould does not need to show off what jazzmen call chops, but works his way through the pieces - all three among Beethoven's most famous - and leaves the listener awed by the emotional majesty Gould evokes. Perhaps some of this is due to Gould's mastery of studio techniques, but even with that said, these recordings are outstanding.
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