19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2001
This disc brings together baroque composers as arranged by JS Bach along with Scarlatti & CPE Bach. It is packed with superb performances, characterised by energy & feeling in Glenn Gould's playing. The CPE Bach sonata is given a rare outing as is Marcello's oboe concerto in JS Bach's arrangement. The concerto is played with great sparkle in the outer movements, while the slow middle section has some beautifully voiced chords: a ravishing piece. Gould sparkles again in the 3 Scarlatti sonatas with great interplay between bass & treble registers. The other Bach pieces have similar qualities ( the fugue is missing from the Chromatic Fantasy & fugue...Why?) All considered this is a brilliant disc with an Italian feel & would be a perfect introduction to the wizardry of Glenn Gould.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Gould’s tonal palette, though subtle, is not particularly wide. If he has used the sustaining pedal at all in the 78 playing minutes of this disc, I missed it, and it is patently impossible to use the damper pedal with the left leg crossed over the right, as in the photograph on the back of the box. That said, Michelangeli himself did not have more complete finger-control than Gould did, and the machined perfection of Gould’s trills and other ornaments, and the diamond brilliance of his scales and runs, are a phenomenon in a very special class of their own. This disc is the Gould we know and either love or do not love. He is on his familiar 18th-century territory with J S Bach, C P E Bach and Scarlatti. He has a manifest empathy with the 18th-century idiom, or at least the early 18th-century, and I rarely see much point in elaborate comparisons with other interpreters. With Gould in early 18th-century music it is likely that if you admire his manner in general you will simply swallow his performances whole, as I tend to do. This disc contains both the Italian Concerto and the Chromatic Fantasia, and I was astonished to learn from the liner note that Gould disliked both. I was thrilled by his dramatic reading of the Chromatic Fantasia and his high-speed account of the last movement of the Italian Concerto, and I can only wonder what on earth he didn’t like about them, so much conviction is carried by his playing. I had not heard him in Scarlatti before, and in all three sonatas he is relaxed and winning, as always his own man and nothing like Michelangeli or Lipatti, still less Horowitz.
There is a certain amount of quiet vocalising, but it is at least tuneful (unlike Serkin’s), and it gives me no problem at all. There is also a knowledgeable and instructive liner-note on Gould’s recording career, although some contradictions should have been sorted out as between pages 4/5 of the note, the note-writer’s text and the back of the record-box as regards what fugues are played with the various fantasias (correct answer ‘none’, a great relief to me personally in the matter of the rather dull effort that usually tags on to the Chromatic Fantasia). The recording technology used is something called Super Bit Mapping, and whatever it is it might have been invented specially for Gould.