1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but the thing is.....
A music fan from Palo Alto (below) challenged anyone to come up with a more phenomenal recording of these most phenomenal Bach piecelets (it is not until Chopin's Preludes that we get such a glorious collection of miniatures again, and then not again until Prokofiev's Visions Fugitive)--to this challenge, I offer Tatiana Nikolayeva's rendition of the Two- and Three-Part...
Published on July 5 2001 by Snow Leopard
2.0 out of 5 stars hum hum hum
This could be a fantastic album but Gould's humming and other strange noises make it close to impossible to relax and enjoy it.
Published on Jan 8 2001 by Eirik Pettersen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but the thing is.....,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)A music fan from Palo Alto (below) challenged anyone to come up with a more phenomenal recording of these most phenomenal Bach piecelets (it is not until Chopin's Preludes that we get such a glorious collection of miniatures again, and then not again until Prokofiev's Visions Fugitive)--to this challenge, I offer Tatiana Nikolayeva's rendition of the Two- and Three-Part Inventions (available as Tatiana Nikolayeva Plays J.S. Bach). I will not attempt a blow by blow comparison here--I am sure the truth is that one should have both Nikolayeva's AND Gould's versions--not only for the contrast, but also for the less technically annoying recording (in Nikolayeva) once Gould's humming drives you crazy.
For the record, I knew Gould's version before Nikolayeva's, and so on some level hers struck me as a reply and correction to Gould's. The celebrated speed of the 13th, for instance; as with Gould's humming, the novelty wears off after repeated listenings. It is well-known that, for all their simplicity, it takes a keen musical sensibility to truly perform these pieces; it is not necessary to use them as tornado-like displays of velocity or virtuosity. Sometimes I think that Gould fans (and I am one of them) give him too much leniency within his eccentricity--he is not infallible and to my ear at least (probably because of all of Bach's keyboard works, the Two- and Three-Part Inventions are my most familiar, and the ones that I have heard the greatest number of renditions of) Gould falters here.
Put another way, I have Gould's and Nikolayeva's versions, and Nikolayeva's gets played far, far, far more often, because of how it musically affects me. Gould's, I nod my head and say, "Yes." With Nikolayeva's, I hit replay, smile and just feel all uplifted, even as I am intellectually wowed by her playing.
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, loved it, loved it.,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)Nothing I write here can come close to the experience of listening to this marvelous CD. Play it until it melts.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bach, with quirks of Gould,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)Glenn Gould: one of the most intriguing and original musicians of any time. The film-documentaries and books about him all show him sitting at a battered-looking grand piano, on a similarly bedraggled chair rather than a piano stool, in what can only be described as a ridiculous posture. His recordings of the complete keyboard works (other than organ works) of Johann Sebastian Bach give testament to further quirks of his playing: he grunts and hums along with himself, picking out strands of the melody and reinforcing them vocally in a manner that can be annoying but is clearly done for very personal reasons. Additionally, he has his own ideas about tempo, dynamics and articulation, such as is guaranteed to make purists shudder. An example from this recording of the "Two- and Three-Part Inventions and Sinfonias" is the breakneck speed with which he takes the C major Sinfonia, after the almost plodding pace of the preceding C major Invention.
Yet, if the listener can get past these idiosyncrasies, s/he will find that at the core, Gould was an outstanding pianist beyond any doubt. He may play some pieces so fast that they go by in under a minute, and his humming may detract from the emotional effect that people hope to gain by listening to this music, but there is not a note out of place - and many a pianist may tell you that that can be hard to achieve in much of Bach's music. Opinions are bound to differ, but when I listen to this recording I often sense that Gould is letting his joy in this music shine through above all else - it matters little that he reinterprets it in his own way; that is arguably the case when any musician plays from a score that was, after all, written by another musician.
There have been numerous recordings of Bach's keyboard works, and many are far superior in terms of the quality of instrument used, or performance practice adopted by the player. (Angela Hewitt's recordings on Hyperion are often the most praised, in no small part because of her outstanding accuracy and beauty of tone.) Yet of all I've heard, few come close to the unique personality of Gould; it is most strange, yet in a way most magical to hear. This programme of the Inventions and Sinfonias - exquisite miniatures rather than an extended work - is ideal in which to hear Gould's deeply personal Bach playing.
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty of this CD got me hooked on Glenn Gould.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)Not knowing about Gould, I happened to get this CD for my 10-year old daughter a few years ago, when she was learning some of Bach's inventions. For the first time when I listened to this CD, I was literally astounded. I had known contrapuntal music conceptually. But I realized that I did not know how contrapuntal music really sounds like or how graceful it is until I listened to this CD.
Since then I have been charmed by the magic spell of the musical wizard, Gould. I have collected quite a bit of his recordings. But once in a while I come back to this CD, and listen to it, still sighing with admiration. Yes, Gould hums and the piano bounces in a weird way. But I don't care. The beauty is there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Glenn, was that "junk piano" really necessary?,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)When confronted about the humming and other "side-noises" on his recordings during an interview, Gould admitted that he himself never would be willing to put down money for a record of a fellow musician committing such atrocities. Well, let there be no doubt about it. This recording is really at the bottom of the barrel.
In the quest for piano modifications that resulted in better control and increased clarity, Glenn at one moment messed around with paperclips etc. While he later settled for a reduction in the action of the hammer, this recording is a "lasting testament" of his paperclip phase. Simply disastrous.
Yet, this recording also documents Gould at his very best in Bach.
He was extremely fond of the three part inventions and played them throughout his brief concert career. Coupling the inventions and symphonies by key in something of a prelude and fugue scheme, he highlights Bach's counterpoint at its most melodic. Especially the c minor duo demonstrates Gould's at the top of his pianistic abilities.
There is a little solace for the needy. Gould "rerecorded" the C major symphonia on video.
Finally, a joke that is too funny, not to be true.
Based on his continuous best-selling status, it was no surprise that Sony devoted one of the first issues of its new SACD format to Gould. Believe it or not, but they chose (parts of) this recording for this new supposedly CD-superior medium. Go figure!
4.0 out of 5 stars a must-have, despite technical problems,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)Yes, Gould hums along. There are some random sounds. One or two of the piano's keys even bounce, sounding two or three times when Gould is playing it once. You can read in Friedrichs' biography of Gould how he shocked the producer and engineers by deciding just to go ahead with it after the Steinway tech couldn't get rid of the bounce.
Shining through all that is Gould's brilliant playing and interpretation. He takes this collection of short pieces and finds something new to say about each one. I feel that he's not trying to be definitive, so much as interesting. There's a conversational and intimate feel to the playing. He shows us his ideas, seeming to say, for example, "The G Major Invention is really one long legato phrase. That doesn't mean it can't bounce joyfully, just the way you'd expect." Other times, he seems to be deliberately provocative, "Here, listen, I bet I can convince you that the 32nd notes aren't essential to the b minor Sinfonia!". He then proceeds to try by playing them in undifferentiated bursts while connecting the other themes right through the diversions.
Each of the tracks is more a snapshot than an attempt at a reference work. Gould takes truly astonishing, original and personal snapshots.
Gould probably has a hidden plan in the ordering of the pieces, which is not Bach's own. I don't know what it is, though it seems to try to keep the keys as continuous as possible between tracks, changing only one flat or sharp at a time or switching to an associated major or minor. Playing the pieces in pairs, with each invention followed by the sinfonia in the same key instead of all the inventions then all the sinfonias adds to this continuity.
2.0 out of 5 stars hum hum hum,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)This could be a fantastic album but Gould's humming and other strange noises make it close to impossible to relax and enjoy it.
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best recordings of Bach ever made...,
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)...and that's even accounting for all of the background noise that the previous reviewer mentioned. The noise, of course, consists mostly of Gould's humming along with the music and, while at times annoying, it does make you feel like you're there with Gould in the recording studio.
As for the music, well, it's brilliant. All of these inventions are little gems, some of the best stuff Bach wrote in my opinion, and Gould is definitely up to the task. Gould's technique shines all over, especially in the Invention #13 in A minor, which he plays much faster than any other recording I've heard (the piece was featured in one of the bits in the film '32 Short Films about Glenn Gould', by the way). Through his immaculate playing Gould brings out every note clearly, managing to carry the fugal themes continuously as they cross over and under each other. Yet unlike in his wierd and often cold recordings of Mozart and Beethoven, Gould also manages to evoke a range of emotions, even coming close to pathos in the last and longest invention. Anyone who says Bach is soulless should listen to this.
Definitely a must for any Bach fan.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great performance, lousy recording,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)Gould's performance on this CD is really impressive, but the recording is AWFUL to the point where I have difficultly listening to it, even on this supposedly remastered edition. Through most of the pieces, you can hear mumbled voices in the background, and there are frequently bits of static, clicks, hisses, etc. Listening to this disc with headphones is a painful experience. I may keep it as a reference for my own playing, but I doubt I will listen to this one much for pleasure.
5.0 out of 5 stars As fresh as it gets,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pt2/3 Bach Inventions (Audio CD)I haven't heard of any other performance of these little songs that is even close to what Gould is able to show us here. He is truly amazing in the way he nurtures and guides these pieces through their delicate windlings. OK, ok a lot of people out there might not approve of Gould's playing in general, but listen to this one! Sweet, tender and ravishing! I challenge anyone to bring me a better recording. A must have!
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Pt2/3 Bach Inventions by Johann Sebastian Bach (Audio CD - 2002)