from the stacks: Glenn Gould

glenn gould photo

I’m going to occasionally write about older records that I routinely go back to for one reason or another. Uniformly, these records all have great replay value — if often for different reasons.

To inaguarate this category, I’ll start with a recording that I’ve been going back to for many years now: Glenn Gould’s performance of The Goldberg Variations.

A couple of years ago the always impecable Sony Legacy released the definitive version of this recording entitled A State of Wonder: The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981. This re-issue contains both the initial (some would say, definitive) 1955 version of the piece as well as Gould’s (very different) take on the same piece in 1981, just prior to his death.

While it’s very hard to sum up the genius that is Glenn Gould, I suppose he, like most geniuses, was able to access something that most of us just can’t. Of course, when you have one genius interperting the work of another genius, as we do on these recording, you get some sort of exponential genius thing going on. I suppose this is why these recordings seem to pretty much cover the spectrum of…well…everything. And I suppose that’s why I keep going back to them.

While I believe that this work is best heard as a piece, in the interest of compelling some to seek out said piece, here is a sample:

Glenn Gould performing Variation XXVIii A 2 Clavier.
glenn gould

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