Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
A magical box of every-flavour beans; only one tastes a bit sour
on 27 August 2013
This is an outstanding set. I bought it to replace a set of Brendel's recordings, which I'd found disappointingly flat and mechanical; whatever else you can say about Gould's version, it's neither of those. Everything is played with clear, sharp definition, even when he's going at at breakneck speed. Gould's expression is often lyrical rather than percussive; no-one carries different voices on the keyboard as well as he does. However, this is not for the traditionalist. Gould's tempi and phrasing are often idiosyncratic. He was panned for some of these recordings, notably the Appassionata (a piece he didn't like) and the early recording of Sonatas 30-32, which aren't as well recorded as the rest. His readings are occasionally eccentric - the critics thought some of them were wilfully destructive - but I have to admit that whenever I've checked what he does against the score, I come to the conclusion that he's got a point. And, as usual with a Glenn Gould record, you have to be tolerant at the points when he hums along tunelessly. Oddly, that flaw enhances the experience of listening; combined with a close, clear recording it gives a feeling of intimate performance in your living room. It's tremendous fun to listen to, and there's only one rendition in the batch the Appassionata, ponderously slow for the first two movements) which doesn't sparkle with life.