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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This work cannot be summarised with a "tagline"
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...
Published on 22 Mar. 2007 by Dedonno Jason Enzo

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars a whole load of talk on this cd at the end which is really annoying. if I wanted talk I would not put ...
Disappointing .a whole load of talk on this cd at the end which is really annoying .if I wanted talk I would not put this on
Published 1 month ago by Gisele du Bois


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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This work cannot be summarised with a "tagline", 22 Mar. 2007
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinnacle of piano playing!, 9 Feb. 2009
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (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
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (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
By 
ziggy_fan (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (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
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (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 Superb piece, excellent delivery by Gould, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
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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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE FI IS TOO HI, 3 Oct. 2005
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
Before we even get to the performance, this is a rather odd production in two ways. The first oddity is that a short description of each variation goes across the display on one's cd unit, rather like the news and stock-market announcements in Times Square, before settling back to the normal display of cd-number, track-number and time taken. These abbreviated descriptions are only what we can read perfectly well from the back of the box - indeed they're not even that because they get truncated to the right. When it comes to the canons this docks them of the significant distinction among the canons, namely the pitch-intervals at which the canons are set, (4th, 5th, octave etc). Even with the 'normal' variations all that either the box or the display tells us is the number of keyboards that Bach specifies for each, which is relevant only to a harpsichord and not to a piano. The other unusual extra is much more important. After the performance ends the theme starts again but taken much faster. This is Gould himself in his 1955 performance, and it leads in a discussion with the critic Tim Page. I was completely fascinated to hear one of the 20th century's greatest players tell us so much about his thinking. Gould comes across as not only intellectual but as friendly and affable. There are background issues mentioned, and I was more than pleased to find that he shares my own thorough dislike of the minimalist school, but the main topics are central to the work on the disc - the questions of tempo, of expression, and of how to play Bach on the piano.
Gould takes the theme very slowly indeed here, and while I like it to be slow I'm not sure I want it quite this slow. In general he is more measured than in 1955, although not to the degree he is in the theme, and this time he observes some of the repeats. The playing, technically speaking, is as super-perfect as ever, with all his familiar ultra-precision in the ornaments and ultra-clarity in the runs. This performance doesn't have quite the verve of 1955, but there's plenty of that left. In the matter of expression the interlocutors take Gould's reading of the famous 25th variation from 1955, and the maestro likens it to a performance of a Chopin nocturne. The new Mr Gould wants no more of that and goes much straighter in this account. For what it's worth my own feeling is that I can take it either way - what I'm not so convinced by is the general thinking behind the change. Gould draws a parallel with the Art of Fugue, and I'm decidedly on his side in not wanting over-expressed readings of that. I doubt all the same whether parallel holds with the Goldberg variations. These show much more of Bach's human face and were written to be entertainment, albeit pretty lofty and intellectual entertainment. There is more than one Bach, and the new performance, for me, lacks some of the eventfulness of its predecessor.
I think that what really goes slightly wrong (by Gould's transcendent standards) this time is actually where his thinking about piano performances of Bach have led him. I couldn't agree more that instruments are there to support, express and serve music, and that the same music can work perfectly well on many different sorts of instruments. What doesn't seem to me to follow from that is that music written specifically for one instrument, in this case the harpsichord, can just be 'walked' on to another, even so closely related an instrument as the piano. In 1955 Gould seemed to me to solve the issue brilliantly. He exploited in that performance the additional resources of the modern grand with imagination and discretion, and even varied his reading with some highly original and witty semi-imitations of harpsichord effects. This time round his playing, although clean, lithe and spare as ever, seems to assume that nothing is needed except to play the work as if it had been written for the instrument he's playing, which of course it wasn't. There are dozens and scores of different ways of approaching the matter, but a completely literal translation doesn't convince as being one of them. The problem is actually emphasised by the excellent recorded quality - this is how a piano ought to sound, and it just makes me the more conscious that the clothes don't quite fit. Fidelity is great, and this may be the first time I have felt it can actually be overdone, or not done in quite the right way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Bach, 30 April 2010
By 
Mr. Raymond L. Hall "TareeDawg" (Taree, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
Whatever one's thoughts about Gould as an odd Canadian eccentric, there simply is no better guide to the keyboard pieces by Bach. All the contrapuntal lines are shown in distinct clarity, and there is no hushed overdone fake reverence, just unadorned Bach in all its glory. Essential listening.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 27 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
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 great recordings all over again. If you like Bach's keyboard works, then this is a 'must have'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!, 22 April 2013
By 
G. C. Hurrell (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
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........... Perhaps I'll stick with astounding!!
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Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach (Audio CD - 2004)
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