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English Suites 1-3

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Product Details

  • Performer: Glenn Gould
  • Composer: Bach Johann Sebastian
  • Audio CD (Sept. 10 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00006FI7E
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,766 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Most helpful customer reviews

By gifo on Oct. 19 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great music as only Gould can play!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
AS USUAL Feb. 14 2007
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on
Format: Audio CD
My collection of Gould's Bach must be somewhere near complete by now, and my satisfaction at that is going to be tinged with regret when there is no more of it to discover. Through a fluke of the postal system I obtained the second disc of the English suites before this one arrived, and greatly as I enjoyed the other disc I'd say this one is even better. The first 3 suites are comparatively long. Numbers 2 and 3 have 7 movements each, and no 1 has no fewer than 10, so the disc provides quite good value in that sense, although quantity is not what I judge value by in a case like this.

The recordings here were done during 1973, 1971 and 1974 respectively in a studio specially provided for Gould inside a department store in Toronto. As with the second disc, recorded over part of the same period, the tone is very clear but just slightly hard. This is a good fault when the player is Gould and the music is Bach, but the English suites would not be the first things I would think of if I wanted to demonstrate the particular greatness of Gould's Bach to a newcomer. In general Gould does not go in for extreme tempi this time, but the sarabande in no 3 is definitely slow and the final gigue of no 2 barrels along at a speed that recalls some of his more startling exhibitions of velocity elsewhere. As on the second disc, the detached fingering is relieved here and there with a more legato effect and even (I think) a touch of sustaining pedal at times. There is also, in the first gavotte of no 3, a pleasant pastiche-harpsichord effect, suggesting a slightly choked-sounding stop that he obviously liked, to judge by the Handel suites that he recorded on that instrument. At the very start, and again a little later, the maestro is slightly vocal, not something that bothers me in the least.

The liner note is the same as on the second disc, with some very interesting remarks, partly from this garrulous virtuoso himself, on how he went about his recording sessions. There is nothing about the music as such, so in case it needs saying perhaps I should explain that 'agrements' in the sarabandes of nos 2 and 3 does not mean what it means in Debussy's etude with that title, but simply signifies 'ornaments'.

Unless I'm mistaken, the two discs of the English suites are available together as a single set. If that offers a price advantage it's what I'd suggest you go for. What I don't suggest is doing without either of them.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Performances! Nov. 14 2004
By AB - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In these recordings, as is custom with his Bach, Gould attains a clarity and preciseness that border on perfection. The Preludes are played with vigor and perpetual momentum (see No. 2); the Sarabandes reflect Gould's great touch and emotion. As a musician, I hold this recording of the English Suites as a timeless reference--as an appreciator of Bach, I hold these interpretations as most truthful to the composer's intentions. I recommend this recording (along with vol. 2) as a cornerstone in anyone's Bach collection.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
My introduction into classical music was a book! Oct. 30 2008
By Vicki - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading "A Romance on Three Legs" I was fascinated by the person the book was about - Glenn Gould. After reading the book I had to hear his piano solos. Now I am hooked!! Glenn Gould's solos are truly wonderful. I put the CD on while I am quilting and the music is even more relaxing than the quilting is - leading to a nice day all around!!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
English Suites 1 2 3 May 9 2013
By Dale - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have only recently discovered the genius of Glenn Gould. Now, several CD's later, this one is my favorite.
I've steadily been listening for the last few weeks and have not tired of it. I always hear something new.
I've enjoyed it so much that I recently purchased a copy as a gift...
You can't miss here
Five Stars Aug. 30 2015
By Svetoslav I. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent service. Highly recommend.