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Goldberg Variations Import

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: CDN$ 28.77
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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 25 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000025TP
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
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1. Goldberg Variations: Aria
2. Goldberg Variations: Variation 1
3. Goldberg Variations: Variation 2
4. Goldberg Variations: Variation 3
5. Goldberg Variations: Variation 4
6. Goldberg Variations: Variation 5
7. Goldberg Variations: Variation 6
8. Goldberg Variations: Variation 7
9. Goldberg Variations: Variation 8
10. Goldberg Variations: Variation 9
11. Goldberg Variations: Variation 10
12. Goldberg Variations: Variation 11
13. Goldberg Variations: Variation 12
14. Goldberg Variations: Variation 13
15. Goldberg Variations: Variation 14
16. Goldberg Variations: Variation 15
17. Goldberg Variations: Variation 16
18. Goldberg Variations: Variation 17
19. Goldberg Variations: Variation 18
20. Goldberg Variations: Variation 19
See all 32 tracks on this disc

Product Description

In the summer of 1955, a brash, eccentric, and awesomely gifted 22-year-old pianist swept the didactic cobwebs off this monumental opus, and a star was born. For listeners weaned on romantic Bach stylings of Fischer, Casals, and Landowska, the effect was like stepping into an ice cold shower. Glenn Gould's agile, independent hands and hair-trigger rhythm ignited Bach's virtuosic writing with insight and irreverence, sprucing up the counterpoint with crisp articulation, perky accents, and jaw-dropping tempos. This debut recording is the best-known and arguably the finest of Gould's commercial discs. Buy it and hear why. --Jed Distler

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This performance is truly awe-inspiring. Anyone familiar with Gould will know what to expect with the mighty, graceful, challenging Goldberg Variations in his capable hands. If you enjoy listening to Bach you really must purchase this album.
If you are not familiar with this music or performer then GET familiar with them. The music itself is quite beautiful with a series of variations on a basic harmonic progression (series of chords essentially). However, the endless invention Bach displays in each brilliant section is masterful. The famous "black pearl" variation near the end is quite dark and contrasts greatly with the other pieces. This is very fine keyboard music.
Glenn Gould performs Bach's keyboard music on the piano. Most of these works are generally accepted to have been written for performance on harpsichord or clavichord because of the prominence of those instruments in Bach's day. However, it would be easy to argue that Bach would have no problem with their performance on ANY instrument as transcription, the process of arranging music for an instrument or voice different from the original, was widely practiced in Bach's day.
Gould soars through these pieces at a pace some find too hectic. I would rather that they were somewhat slower but it does not spoil my listening experience. I do not believe I've heard another pianist effectively give fair play to each voice in Bach's standard contrapuntal texture in the same way Gould did. My only concern is with the recording quality. These variations were recorded nearly 50 years ago. Without this knowledge, one could guess closely based on the tape noise. I knock of a star for this but still strongly urge any Bach fan or classical piano fan to pick this one. The cd has been bargain-priced for some time. Take advantage of that fact.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c3cbedc) out of 5 stars 53 reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9beea93c) out of 5 stars There is a better version of this recording May 15 2000
By C. Robinson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
A spirited, irreverant recording that turned the world on its ear back in 1955. Comparisons to his 1981 recording notwithstanding, this is an extraordinary performance with considerable historical value.
However, it was given a 20-bit remaster in 1992 and re-released as "Glenn Gould Edition - Bach: Goldberg Variations" (Sony Catalog #52594). The remastered version has noticably clearer sound and more music: two fugues from 'The Well-Tempered Clavier' are thrown in as a bonus.
If sound quality is important to you, the remastered version is worth the extra 5 bucks.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9beea990) out of 5 stars Stunning April 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
There's a novel by the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard called "The Loser", in which the narrator and a friend are studying piano in Salzburg during the 1950s. Then one day they hear the young Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations in a room next door, and simultaneously decide that there's no longer any point in studying the piano, because they'll never be as good as that.
Bernhard never met Gould, and Gould wasn't a piano student in Salzburg (in fact, even though Gould is a principal character, the whole novel is a total fiction, albeit a very good one) but listening to Gould's first commercial recording, you can understand the reaction. His intelligence, grace and dexterity are quite amazing. There are players who may be more interested in trying to reproduce the music the way they think Back would've played it, but the results are trivial compared to the insouciance and total commitment of Gould's interpretation. As for self-styled purists who complain that Bach shouldn't be played on the modern piano, their complaints have been comprehensively dismissed by TW Adorno in his great essay on Bach, in which he points out that there's ample evidence that Bach himself wasn't particularly satisfied with the sound of _any_ of the keyboard instruments available to him. (Never mind that you'd have to have a tin ear not to be convinced by Gould's version that the pianoforte is the best instrument to play this stuff on.)
Gould's later version is darker, smokier and slower, but while he liked to criticise the 1955 recording (he commented "there's a lot of 'piano playing' going on") it has a fabulous freshness. The 1959 live version from the Salzburg Festival is equally crackling and brilliant. It also has this benefit over the 1981; the older analog equipment picked up less of his notorious humming, which is initally sort of cute but ultimately an unavoidable nuisance on Gould recordings. (Don't listent to Gould on headphones. Find a quiet room.)
Morning music, in every sense of the word.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9beeab64) out of 5 stars New Glenn Gould fan at middle age. March 15 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I'm hardly a Bach affcionado although I've always enjoyed listening to his works in my life along with other composers. When I accidentally watched video clips of Glenn Gould's performance of Goldberg variations for the first time, It made me curiously emotional like no other. Words are inadequate to describe the child-like feeling after I listend to the first few variations. I walked over to my young sleepy cat and kissed his nose... That is what this particular recording made me do. Not everyone need to talk about classical music like a wine connoisseur. I feel lucky to have found this simple, yet sublime sound by this truly gifted pianist.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bef10b4) out of 5 stars GOULD PLAYS BEST VERSION OF GOLDBERG VARIATIONS April 30 2001
By A. Michaelson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Giving this CD only four stars was a tough decision to make. The album offers perhaps the best piano playing that I've ever heard. Gould's technical ability and speed are astounding, bringing to life Bach's incredible Goldberg Variations as no other pianist can. If my rating were based soley on performance quality, this CD would undoubtedly deserve five stars; unfortunately, the fact is that the recording was made in 1955, and even though it has been remastered, there is still a very noticable tape hiss. Also, Gould's famous humming/mumbling can be heard in some of the tracks, seriously detracting from what otherwise would be a perfect listening experience. Still, the playing is so marvelous that despite the noticable flaws, the album overall get's a strong four stars.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bef11d4) out of 5 stars A revelation to the music world in 1955, still is in 2001 April 2 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
It is hard to underestimate this breakthrough recording by young Glenn Gould. At a time when Bach was very serious music, when few even wanted to touch his keyboard works, Gould started a storm of change with this recording. Just listening to pre-Gould recordings of Goldberg Variations, or even any Bach keyboard work, played with harpsichord or piano, and you'll find how presemptious and, in fact, a bit boring, Bach indeed could sound. People might argue that Gould more sounds like Gould than Bach, but is that really an issue? Even Bach, in good baroque tradition, was a well-known improvisor and imitator that changed his style frequently as demanded by his temper and audience. The key here is to move people with Bachs intentions, not to plainly copy. In fact, I like when I can hear who is playing, it adds personality and blood, especialy in the case of Mr Gould's tour de force and exquisite, almost hyphnotic tempi effects and phrasing. OK, I won't get deeper into that discussion. Gould died too young, and so far no one of the some 75 recoridings has surpassed him on the Goldbergs, my opinion. BUY THIS RECORD AND HIS 1981 VERSION. If you're a real buff, try his 1954 CBC and 1959 Salzburg live recordings as well.

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