Thursday, April 27, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 9: Glenn Gould - Goldberg Variations (J.S.Bach)

From Emeticsage

Album: Goldberg Variations
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Glenn Gould, piano
Release Date: Summer, 1955


People usually either hate or love Glenn Gould, there's very little room to be indifferent about his interpretations. I suppose any truly gifted and unique individual will provoke similar reactions. For those of us who were not around in 1955, it's almost impossible to comprehend the way this debut recording took the classical music world by storm. At that time, Glenn Gould was a brash 22 year old kid with very definite ideas about Bach. Until Gould came on the scene, the conventional approach to Bach was one of lush romanticism. Gould turned that world-view upside down with break-neck tempos, two wildly independent hands that showcased the virtuosic counterpoint that was always inherent in Bach's music, and a predilection for humming along as he played. A star was born.

Where Are They Now:

Glenn Gould died in 1982 at the far-too-young age of 50. He left behind a legacy of a truly unique approach to the interpretation of classical music, and was a truly unique individual. Much has been said of Gould's eccentricities: his love of solitude, his obsessive note-taking regarding his health, his need to wear a coat and gloves at all times, his renunciation of public performance early in his career, his use of a cut-down 18-inch tall home-made chair during performances, and his incessant humming while playing. Yet people who focused on these qualities were missing the forest for the trees, and deprived themselves of a truly wonderful listening experience.

Emetic Sage's Overall Take:

Through the veil of 50 years, this album still sounds fresh. While it is a mono recording, and subject to a fairly narrow dynamic range, the raw youthful energy and virtuosic playing shines through. One feels present at the dawn of a revolution in classical music. And, while Gould's performance is more of a re-interpretation of Bach's music, a Gould by way of Bach rather than Bach by way of Gould, the end result is sheer joy in the creativity and brilliance of both masters.

Much has been written about Gould and can be found on the Internet and in various publications. For the potentially interested listener of baroque and/or classical music, I heartily recommend checking this performance out, or any other of Mr. Gould's works, for that matter.



At 9:42 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

i'd be curious to hear this offering. great stuff!

At 11:52 AM, Blogger emetic sage said...

march, go into my Tune Town and give it a listen. although it may not be your bag...


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