Gould Variations: The Best of Glenn Gould's Bach

The Gould Variations: The Best of Glenn Gould's Bach

by Glenn Gould
     
 
Whether you find his recordings of J. S. Bach brilliant, maddening, or a little bit of both, there's no denying that Glenn Gould was one of the composer's most significant interpreters at the keyboard, sweeping fusty and dubious tradition aside to imprint his own brash and fascinating personality upon the music. In a sense, the Bach we

Overview

Whether you find his recordings of J. S. Bach brilliant, maddening, or a little bit of both, there's no denying that Glenn Gould was one of the composer's most significant interpreters at the keyboard, sweeping fusty and dubious tradition aside to imprint his own brash and fascinating personality upon the music. In a sense, the Bach we hear today is almost inevitably a post-Gould Bach, so enormous was his impact. As a condensation of his achievements in Bach -- also available complete in a box set -- The Gould Variations succeeds admirably in surveying recordings from throughout the pianist's career and encompassing the majority of the composer's keyboard forms. Fittingly, both of Gould's recordings of the Goldberg Variations -- the legendary 1955 debut and his more reflective 1981 remake -- are sampled here, at the opening and close of the collection. In between, we're treated to several complete works -- the Partita No. 5 (BWV 829), the Aria variata alla maniera italiana (BWV 989), the Chromatic Fantasy (BWV 903), and the Concerto in D minor after Marcello (BWV 974) -- plus an assortment of two-part inventions, preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier, and excerpts from larger works. Throughout, the oft-cited qualities of Gould's playing -- spontaneity, wit, rhythmic alacrity, lucidly clarified textures, and a constant sense of fresh discovery -- are manifest. Although the accompanying booklet includes only a brief character sketch of the performer in place of any discussion of the music, the CD-ROM component of the second disc in this set more than makes up for it. As an audio element, this disc includes Gould's controversial 1962 performances at the organ of Contrapuncti I-IX from The Art of the Fugue. Along with background on Bach and Gould, the multimedia portion includes musical scores of the fugues which highlight each bar as it is played to facilitate following along, videos of Gould playing and discussing the music, and a complete discography of Gould's Bach recordings.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Who needs this disc? Not people who already have all of Gould's Bach recordings. They already love Gould's athletically racing, intellectually probing Bach, and there's nothing new on these discs for them. Nor is it for the people for already hate Gould's revved-up, super-charged Bach. They've already decided that Gould's a poseur and a fake. This disc is for people who haven't heard Gould play Bach yet and want to check the late, great Canadian pianist out. What they'll get is the opening Aria from Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations -- fast, light, and objective -- and the closing Aria from Gould's 1981 recording of the same work -- slow, dark, and deeply subjective -- sandwiching a handful of Bach's greatest hits for the keyboard. They'll get three fleet inventions, a couple of flashy Preludes and Fugues, a lean "Italian Concerto," and a really mean "Chromatic fantasia and fugue." They'll get a few Gouldian oddities like the quirky "Little Preludes" and the diabolic "Aria variata alla maniera italiana" in A minor. They'll also get a truly bizarre set of excerpts from "The Art of the Fugue" played by Gould on the organ (one cannot recall another major pianist who essayed this work or any other on the organ). Gould's registrations are strange and his rhythms peculiar, but his intellectual concentration never wavers. Finally, they'll get a CD-ROM which will allow them to see as well as hear Gould perform and discuss "The Art of the Fugue." Gould was as compelling a speaker as he was a player, and the CD-ROM is an amusing glimpse of the mind behind the fingers. Recommended for those who want to try a little Gould and do not know where to start.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/29/2000
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998934429
catalogNumber:
89344

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): Aria

    1. Aria  (01:55)
  2. Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 1 in C major, BWV 772 (BC L42)  (01:30)
  3. Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 3 in D major, BWV 774 (BC L44)  (00:59)
  4. Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 8 in F major, BWV 779 (BC L49)  (01:05)
  5. Partita for keyboard No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 (BC L5)

    1. Praeambulum  (01:47)
    2. Allemande  (01:50)
    3. Courante  (00:40)
    4. Sarabande  (02:02)
    5. Tempo di Minuetto  (01:05)
    6. Passepied  (00:47)
    7. Gigue  (01:41)
  6. Aria variata, for keyboard in A minor ("In the Italian Style"), BWV 989 (BC L179)  (09:41)
  7. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 1 in C major (WTC I/1), BWV 846 (BC L80)

    1. Prelude  (02:22)
    2. Fugue  (01:56)
  8. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 5 in D major (WTC I/5), BWV 850 (BC L84)

    1. Prelude  (01:06)
    2. Fugue  (01:42)
  9. Prelude for keyboard in C major (WFN 25), BWV 924 (BC L57)  (01:47)
  10. Prelude for keyboard in F major (WFN 8), BWV 927 (BC L59)  (00:36)
  11. Prelude for keyboard in D minor (WFN 4), BWV 926 (BC L58)  (00:48)
  12. Prelude for keyboard in D major (WFN 27; disputed, perhaps by W.F. Bach), BWV 925  (00:55)
  13. Prelude for keyboard in F major (WFN 10), BWV 928 (BC L60)  (01:07)
  14. Prelude for keyboard in G minor (WFN 9), BWV 930 (BC L62)  (03:22)
  15. Italian Concerto, for solo keyboard in F major (Clavier-Übung II/1), BWV 971 (BC L7): First Movement

    1. First Movement  (04:10)
  16. French Suite, for keyboard No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 (BC L23): 1. Allemande

    1. 1. Allemande  (01:47)
  17. French Suite, for keyboard No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 (BC L23): 4. Gavotte

    1. 4. Gavotte  (00:40)
  18. French Suite, for keyboard No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 (BC L23): 7. Gigue

    1. 7. Gigue  (02:28)
  19. Prelude for keyboard in C major (Six Little Preludes No. 1), BWV 933 (BC L64)  (01:19)
  20. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, for keyboard in D minor, BWV 903 (BC L34): Fantasy

    1. Fantasy  (06:17)
  21. Partita for keyboard No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 (BC L2): 1. Sinfonia

    1. 1. Sinfonia  (04:12)
  22. Overture in the French Manner, partita for keyboard in B minor (Clavier-Übung II/2), BWV 831: 10. Gigue

    1. 10. Gigue  (02:12)
  23. Concerto for solo keyboard No. 3 in D minor (after Alessandro Marcello), BWV 974 (BC L194)

    1. untitled  (02:23)
    2. Adagio  (04:47)
    3. Presto  (02:38)
  24. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.

    1. Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.  (00:37)
  25. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quadlibet

    1. Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quadlibet  (01:30)
  26. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): Aria da capo

    1. Aria da capo  (03:45)

Disc 2

  1. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 1

    1. Contrapunctus 1  (02:45)
  2. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 2

    1. Contrapunctus 2  (02:43)
  3. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 3

    1. Contrapunctus 3  (02:20)
  4. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 4

    1. Contrapunctus 4  (03:21)
  5. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 5

    1. Contrapunctus 5  (02:53)
  6. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 6 (a 4, im Stile francese)

    1. Contrapunctus 6 (a 4, im Stile francese)  (04:57)
  7. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 7 (a 4, per Augmentationem et Diminu

    1. Contrapunctus 7 (a 4, per Augmentationem et Diminutionem)  (03:48)
  8. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 8 (a 3)

    1. Contrapunctus 8 (a 3)  (04:55)
  9. Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue), for keyboard (or other instruments), BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 9 (a 4 alla Duodecima)

    1. Contrapunctus 9 (a 4 alla Duodecima)  (05:37)

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