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4.6 out of 5 stars
38
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 12 September 2017
Good value for a classic performance
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on 5 January 2015
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
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on 22 March 2007
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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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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on 9 February 2009
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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on 3 December 2015
not as good as its publicity
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on 28 August 2008
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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on 1 December 2009
This incredible performance of Bach's keyboard masterpiece should be required listening for all who are interested in the development of pianism and all who enjoy great playing. Gould gives an extraordinary performance, highly quirky and provocative at times, quite different from his 1955 one. It's no wonder the Russians turned out in droves when he played over there. Oh yes, he hums throughout but I I don't find it distracting in the context - in fact I find it rather comforting now he is no longer with us.
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on 10 July 2015
Ok so this is a beautiful rendition almost entirely destroyed by the distraction of the dude humming almost all the way through. If you have decent hifi kit and fancy playing it at more than a whisper try a different recording.
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on 5 May 2014
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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