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5.0 out of 5 stars The most essential part of Glenn Gould's recordings, 1 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Glenn Gould - The Complete Bach Collection (Audio CD)
While Glenn Gould was a pianist who performed the works of many composers, his name is inextricably linked to that of Johann Sebastian Bach. More than any other composer, Bach was Gould's speciality. From his first recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations in 1955 to his final recording, again of the Goldberg Variations in 1981, Gould recorded nearly all of Bach's keyboard music.

This set groups all of Gould's Bach recordings; not only those released on LP and CD, but also a number of previously unreleased recordings: outtakes from the 1955 Goldbergs recording session; a stereo mix of the 1955 Goldbergs; some preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier, from 1952 and 1954; and two live recordings, from 1957 and 1959, of the Goldbergs (Salzburg Festival, August, 1959) and the Sinfonias (Moscow, May, 1957). There are two discs of interviews with Gould - one with Tim Page, and another with John McClure - and a disc of Gould speaking about Bach in German. There are a total of 38 CDs.

This set also includes DVDs; 6 of them. Three of these are directed by Bruno Monsaigneon, featuring the Goldbergs on one, and two others with a variety of works. And three others are from the CBC, from 1957 to 1970, featuring Gould (and others) playing a variety of Bach's works. Many Gould fans are familiar with the Monsaigneon films, as they have been widely circulated - especially the Goldberg Variations video, which was my first introduction to seeing Glenn Gould perform. The CBC videos are less common, though they have been released in a 10-DVD set Glenn Gould on Television. What we have in the Bach set is, naturally, the Bach performances taken from that set. If you're a die-hard Gould fan, you'll want to get the full DVD set as well.

Together with all these discs is a 192-page hardcover book, with some introductory essays, and with notes for each disc. Unfortunately, the notes are very succinct, and while the disc covers reproduce original LPs, the notes on them are too small to read without a microscope. (Is it that hard to include a CD or DVD with PDFs of these things?)

If you're a fan of Glenn Gould, you may already have the Complete Original Jacket Collection, on 80 CDs, which contains most of what's in this set, but you won't have the outtakes, live recordings and DVDs. This set, at a not-quite-bargain price, is worth getting for these extras alone, if you appreciate Gould. Especially since Bach is what Gould did best.

Nice packaging, a fair price, and a bunch of previously unreleased material makes this a good purchase for any fan of Glenn Gould. If you're not familiar with his admittedly idiosyncratic recordings of Bach's keyboard works, this would be a good chance to discover one of the most original of performers. You may love Gould or hate him, but you can't deny that, when he played Bach, he was channelling something transcendent.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Mar 2016 13:59:50 BDT
Of course, i have been aware of Gould for a very long time, although i couldn't hear what the fuss was all about. Until, recently, after i bought the CBS Klavier-vynil box, for an apple and an egg, as we say in Dutch. It took me a few weeks to start listening to it, but almost from the first moment, this time i got it ! And in a big way, i couldn't stop listening to it or several days. I have no idea why, yet. To me, like Casals' 1930's Cello Suites, i don't hear a classical composition, but an very inspired improvisation. If a solo performance of Herbie Nichols would exist (but it doesn't), it would sound like this, i think.

Posted on 12 Apr 2016 16:59:20 BDT
Spotted the missing item? - see my short review.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2016 07:52:34 BDT
Well, the cd you mention certainly does exist (recording 1957 - issued 1993). I bought, in the meantime, Gould complete works (CBS Sony) and i can't find it in that box either. Maybe they include only studio recordings, and not the live ones.
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