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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 August 2003
For me, instruments were made for music and not the other way about. I have just been listening with intense enjoyment to the Goldberg variations played by Landowska and I find I can enjoy them equally as presented by Gould. That so wonderful an instrument as the modern piano is at their service is something that makes me grateful to have lived in the era I have.
This is apparently Gould's 1955 reading. If you have read a certain amount about his eccentricities I should put them out of your mind. Listening to this playing just for itself, the word that characterises it more than any other is 'aristocratic'. Michelangeli himself did not have more perfect control of his touch than Gould had of his. I find no eccentricity whatsoever in this account. What I do find is marvellous clean pearly fingerwork, virtually innocent of the sustaining pedal, and what seems like an inborn understanding of the composer. It surely can't all have been as effortless as Gould makes it sound. The theme is grave, poised and simply expressed. The brilliant variations are brilliant indeed, and #14 and #23 are still ringing in my memory. There is any amount of delicacy where required, as in say #7. There are excellent individual touches, like the suggestion of a heavyweight harpsichord at the start of #29. The minor-key numbers, not just the celebrated #25 but #15 and #21 as well, have the solemnity they call for. #25 itself, taken very slowly (the slower the better as far as I am concerned here) has the aching tension that a great performance brings out from it.
The remastering has been done in something called Sony's High Definition 20-bit sound, and the liner note will tell you something about that. It sounds very good indeed to me, but I am a music-lover not a high-fi buff and it may be that more expensive issues have done the thing even better. This one leaves very little to be desired as far as I am concerned and is excellent value as well. The disc is not exactly full to overflowing, but the inclusion of two fugues brings the total amount of music to a little over three-quarters of an hour.
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4.4 out of 5 stars