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Plays Byrd/Gibbons/Scarlatti/ Import

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 41.25
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B00000I943
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
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Disc: 1
1. Pavan
2. Galliard
3. Fantasy In C
4. Allemande (Italian Ground)
5. Hughe Ashton's Ground
6. Sixth Pavan And Galliard: Pavan
7. Sixth Pavan And Galliard: Galliard
8. 'Lord Of Salisbury' Pavan And Galliard: Pavan
9. 'Lord Of Salisbury' Pavan And Galliard: Galliard
10. A Voluntary
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
2. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
3. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
4. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
5. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
6. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
7. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
8. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
9. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
10. Variations Chromatiques (De Concert)
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Approaching a 2-CD, 150-plus-minute collection of Glenn Gould's piano playing that has no Bach is befuddling. Gould, though he was expert at dozens of composers' works, is remembered by many for his shattering 1955 reading of Bach's Goldberg Variations, whose spirit is strewn throughout these pieces by Berg, Byrd, Scarlatti, Prokofiev, and others. Gould's short performance career, which ended in 1964--when he was 32--is captured on this collection's earliest recordings: the Haydn and Mozart works (1958)--his Mozart infuriated aficionados--and Berg's Piano Sonata, op. 1.

Gould always seemed to trot rowdily through the most staid works and then turn quickly paced works into taut, nervy splays of tension. Of greatest interest here are the crisp Byrd pieces, most unusual in their solo-piano dressing, and the Scriabin miniatures, which seem emotionally brittle and creatively about to burst. Gould ties, unties, and reties the Prokofiev securely, tightening its chromatic properties and keeping it dancing all the while. Sure, there's not a stitch of Bach here, but the music just makes its point all the more clearly: Gould's unleashing of notes was genius almost without regard to its subject matter. --Andrew Bartlett

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There is, apparently, no end to the argument over which pieces should or should not have been included in this recording. But if one looks strictly at what it actually contains, the album provides a pretty thoughtful representation of Gould's non-Bach output and is an interesting compilation of music in its own right.
About half of Disc 1 is devoted to English virginal music by Byrd and Gibbons which Gould identified as some of his favorite music in the keyboard literature. The Scarlatti pieces are full of sparkle and imagination, and suggest that Gould might have become one of the greatest interpreters of Scarlatti's sonatas if only he had recorded more of it. So compelling is his take on the ones in D major and G major that they may never again be equalled. The Mozart Prelude and Fugue in C major is right up Gould's alley, and does quite an admirable job of filling in by proxy for the missing Bach works that previous reviewers lamented. The Haydn sonata that rounds out Disc 1 was performed toward the beginning of Gould's career at Columbia Records and stands in stark contrast, interpretatively speaking, to his re-recording of the same piece at the very end of his life.
Disc 2 begins with Bizet's Chromatic Variations, a rather anachronistic piece in Gould's discography because it provides a rare glimpse of Gould-as-virtuoso, replete with thundering octaves and shimmering scales. Richard Strauss was a composer whose piano works were championed by Gould against popular opinion, and whose music was - like that of Byrd and Gibbons - very dear to Gould's heart. The Scriabin pieces are beautifully sculpted, suggesting once again the unrealized potential in that particular slice of keyboard literature.
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Format: Audio CD
Gould is a great pianist, but this set misrepresents his work and shows just how dull record-label executives can be when they put their minds to it.
First, why is there only one Gould set, but three for such pianists as Horowitz and Brendel? He was at least as good; obviously Sony didn't want to deal. If so, why include Gould at all. Why wasn't Philips honest enough to write that Sony is (likely rightly) trying to keep Gould's Bach to itself?
Second, Sony could have come up with a cleverer compromise, or Philips could have suggested one. For example, Gould in concert almost always played Bach's three-part inventions without the two-part ones. The Sony disk has them both, but they could have parted with the three-parters to give the buyer a taste of Gould's Bach. Why not one or two of the Partitas, number five and six perhaps? (They were originally released together.) Or some excepts from the W.T.C.?
Third, the very fact that Philips has to compromise should have given them a chance to give us a set of brilliant lesser-known recordings. The Bizet and Haydn are by far the best examples on this set. But Gould's English Baroque recordings are very tedious. He, himself, said that the pieces sounded better in his mind than on record. Philips had a chance to introduce the buyer to Gould's Beethoven sonatas Op. 27, both of which are great. And why not include his delightful transcription of Wagner's 'Meistersinger'?
They had a chance to be clever and they chose to be dishonest and tedious, but they cheated the buyer. So don't buy this set. Buy his Goldbergs &c. on Sony.
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Format: Audio CD
Most of you have probably heard of Glenn Gould as the eccentric and brilliant Bach re-vitalizer. A listener typically gets seduced or disgusted by his playing, but never leaves anyone untouched. Recently he was voted among the top ten most influentional classical performers of the 20th century, and his ideas of the performer's role and musical wizardry has always made him very popular among musicians. Many are those pianists of our generation that have Glenn as their absolute idol. Before his landmark record of the Goldbergs Variations in 1955, Bach wasn't really considererd a serious part of the piano repertoire. It is therefore confusing and dissapointing to see that in this series so far none of his more famous interpretations, be it Bach, Beethoven, Brahms or Schoenberg are included on this record! Reading about the recording in the series sampler leaflet lets you believe that contractual quarrel stopped the publication of his most popular works. I guess Sony valued their gems too dearly. I advice anyone who is interested in getting to know Gould to instead buy the "32 Short Stories about Glenn Gould record". Still his Byrd, Scarlatti, Scriabin and Mozart on this CD are wonderful, but if you are a Gould fan on that level, you probably own those records anyway.
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