Customer Review

96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fusing of musical souls, 31 Dec. 2002
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in