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116 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Late (and Early) Glenn Gould
Sony have done a wonderful job of this triple CD set, coupling Gould's earliest recording of the Goldberg Variations (or "Aria mit verschieden Veraenderungen" as it was originally titled) with his last, made not long before his death. The "trilogy" is completed by a fascinating disc containing out-takes from the 1955 session, and a 1982 interview of Gould by eminent music...
Published on 4 Oct 2002 by Ian D. Fordham

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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Wolfman from the North
We are all walking oddities - and some of us have loose wires hanging out the back of our heads. Glenn Ghoul - sorry, Gould was no exception. Perhaps allowances are in order. Even so, why did the Goldberg Variations have to become so entwined in his bid to transform himself into a werewolf?

Both performances are unlistenable. One is deafened by Gould's lupine...
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon


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116 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Late (and Early) Glenn Gould, 4 Oct 2002
By 
Ian D. Fordham "fforfreddy" (Chelmsford, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Sony have done a wonderful job of this triple CD set, coupling Gould's earliest recording of the Goldberg Variations (or "Aria mit verschieden Veraenderungen" as it was originally titled) with his last, made not long before his death. The "trilogy" is completed by a fascinating disc containing out-takes from the 1955 session, and a 1982 interview of Gould by eminent music critic, Tim Page. Page also wrote part of the lengthy notes for the CD package, which are completed by Gould's own liner notes from the 1955 LP release, together with two nicely reproduced pages from the score used by Gould in 1981.
The set is beutifully presented in a triple-fold digipak format, and the printing quality is excellent.
Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations received rave reviews. It has been reissued numerous times on vinyl, cassette, CD, and even 8-track and has never been "out of print". For many people it is THE recording, although it is said that Gould himself came to despise it. The notes quote him as having described it as "the most overrated keyboard disc of all time".
Too much has been written by people far better qualified than I, but suffice it to say that, for me, it is probably the most inspired playing of Bach I have ever heard.
The 1981 version could hardly be more different, taken at generally lower tempi, and with some repetition of variations or even parts of variations, entirely eschewed in the 1955 recording. It is clearly a more thoughtful and mature working and almost brings Gould's career to a close, as if mindful of his imminent and premature demise
Interestingly, the publicly-released 1981 version was taken from a recording made using the then new and trendy digital equipment. Sony's Reissue Producer for this new realease, Louise de la Fuente, and her team, went back and auditioned the simultaneously recorded analogue version and found it far more "musical". Transferring this to digital with much the much better A to D converters now available, they carefully selected matching sections from the sessions and pasted together a new master which matched note-for-note the original release. Their work has paid dividends, resulting in a wonderfully clear piano sound.
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94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fusing of musical souls, 31 Dec 2002
By 
Simon Barrow (Exeter, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Whether you fell in love with Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations years ago or have yet to discover them, this new Sony 3-disc digipack set is an absolute treat. It’s all here. First, the 1955 recording (38’ 26”) superbly remastered. As Tim Page says in his direct, illuminative introductory notes , “Gould’s Bach swung like made. It was urgent, vibrant, strutting and downright sexy.”
Next, the 1981 analogue re-recording (at 51’ 14” significantly slower, differently expressed and incorporating selected repeats). This compares favourably with the digital version released in 1982, days before Gould’s tragically early death. It is sonically fuller, though the ambience seems to temper the characteristic ‘attack’ of his playing.
Then there is a third CD including some 1955 studio outtakes (released for the first time) and an extensive Page interview with Gould himself.
As if this wasn’t enough, the booklet sealed into the front of the attractive fold-out package includes a survey of Gould in the studio, the original liner notes he wrote for the 1955 recording, an excerpt from the score he annoted in 1981, and technical comments on these 16-bit 44.1KHz discs, including the digital-to-analogue issues on the 1981 set.
One note of caution, however. The omission of any direct mention of J. S. Bach on the front cover of this set, and in my review so far, is not without significance. For although these renditions are firmly rooted in the master’s aria and variations of BMV 988, they truly are (simultaneously) Glenn Gould from start to finish. He took what had once been regarded as beautiful but rather dryly academic harpsichord exercises and transformed them into a pianoforte tour-de-force that combined a deeply committed reading of the score with an unashamedly modern, post-Romantic sensibility.
Where does Gould begin and Bach end? Weave your way through all the raging arguments about authenticity in performance if you will - it is still pretty difficult to tell. Any yet it is also very clear. Whereas some of the myriad piano versions of Goldberg undeniably mire Bach in sentiment and floridity, Gould does neither. There is fire and passion here, certainly. But also restraint and attention. For musicologists it isn’t difficult to quarrel over points of interpretation, the faith(less)ness of particular modes of repetition, and so on. But somehow, and without warrant in the technical debates, one gains a sense of Gould fusing his soul with Bach’s through the medium of music. It is the feeling in these performances that is so undeniable.
If the great Johann Sebastian returned today I’m sure he would have some difficulty identifying Gould’s renditions in anything like the terms he put together the originals (inaccessible as those remain for us today). But I suspect he would still love what he heard and recognise his score as having been filtered lovingly through the hands of another, quite different master.
For less than the cost of many single discs these days, here is a real treasure.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That nut's a genius!, 3 Mar 2007
This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Vladimir Horowitz is reported to have said, on seeing Gould in concert, "That nut's a genius!" nicely capturing his eccentricity as well as his talent. I'm no expert, but what I love about Gould is that he makes the music intelligible. Listening to other pianists play Bach often just sounds, to me at least, like people twiddling their fingers up and down the keyboard playing complicated scales. Gould's phrasing has the quality of language. The interesting aspect of this collection is how he disagrees with the earlier recording - or the earlier version of himself that made that recording. Both are astonishing and luminous. The bonus disc interview is illuminating if you ignore the excruciating "skits" Gould performs for it. That he died a few weeks after the 1981 recording was released gives it an added profundity, as an artist's last testament, but also a nice sense of completeness: first and last recording in dialogue, dispute and harmony.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A State Of Wonder, 24 July 2013
This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
For me, I must say, Bach was the greatest composer. I totally agree with the album's title, 'A State of Wonder' because both recordings of this masterpiece, by the most remarkable Bach pianist, have great interpretations for baroque music. In both recordings, the shaping is exquisite and the polyphony is very clear and every note on this marvellous piano can be heard well. Although the 1981 digital recording has a better recording quality, I still prefer the 1955 recording because he played the variations at a more appropriate speed, whereas he played too slowly, for my liking, in the 1981 recording. However, still listen to both recordings and compare them. It's good that Gould did not observe many repeats, like most pianists do, because that makes the work far too long for me to hear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The legend, 5 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Every lover of classical music, and, as Mozart said, Bach is the father of all music, he must have this masterpiece, and Gould has entered in the legend for these intense activities. The casket is wonderful, in the 1981 Gould reached extraordinary an interpretative maturity. This CD cannot not be had.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Music to enhance life, 23 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Acquired by my wife who has the earlier Gould recordings they have given great pleasure and are played regularly to bring calm in a busy life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Goldberg, 20 April 2013
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I bought this CD for my husband after he heard it on the radio and was keen to listen again. The clarity of sound and the superb playing by Glen Gould make this an absolute delight for him. many thanks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb recording and more..., 23 Sep 2011
This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
A lovely recording and well boxed with additinal information about Glenn Gould which was enlightning. Thanks.
Glad too that recordings are avilable on cd. I have only records.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars priceless, 20 May 2003
This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
The first reviewer is mixed up about about the 1981 recordings. The disc we came to know as Gould's remake of the Goldbergs was recorded in digital AND as a backup, in analogue.
What we have in this release is a newly remixed account taken from the analogue backup tapes presumably using the same takes as the digital CBC Album (released Autumn 1982 just before his death). So the new release of the 1981 sessions is the same as the old DDD release except different master tapes were used.
The set is worth it for the priceless interview and out-takes with Gould improvising a quodlibet on God Save the Queen & God Bless America.
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13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listened 1,000 times...., 28 Nov 2005
By 
Richard Scott (CND in UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations (Audio CD)
Glenn Gould was raised by his aunt who once, when asked if he had been a naughty child how she had punished him replied, "Glenn was a good little boy, but if I ever needed to correct his behaviour on anything all I had to do was threaten to not let him play the piano..."
Gould may not have played the 'purest' Bach, but he has certainly discovered the sweet narrative in 'Goldberg Variations'. Comparing this to his earlier recording we now find a self-referential quality that is far more profound and assured. This is a piece that is not just played but 'told', it expresses his life, Bach's life and everyman's life.
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