Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Record A Week: Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould)

Okay, so I definitely could have filed this under G I suppose, but it says BACH in big letters, so it's under B.

Bach: Goldberg Variations as done by Glenn Gould

SIDE 1. - Variations 1 Through 16

Variation 1 a 1 Clav.
Variation 2 a 1 Clav.
Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone All'Unisuono
Variation 4 a 1 Clav.
Variation 5 a 1 Ovvero 2 Clav.
Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone Alla Seconda
Variation 7 a 1 Ovvero 2 Clav.
Variation 8 a 2 Clav.
Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza
Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta
Variation 11 a 2 Clav.
Variation 12 Canone Alla Quarta
Variation 13 a 2 Clav.
Variation 14 a 2 Clav.
Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante
Variation 16 Ouverture a 1 Clav.

SIDE 2. - Variations Nos. 17 Through 30
Variation 17 a 2 Clav.
Variation 18 Canone Alla Sesta a 1 Clav.
Variation 19 a 1 Clav.
Variation 20 a 2 Clav.
Variation 21 Canone Alla Settima
Variation 22 Alla Breve a 1 Clav.
Variation 23 a 2 Clav.
Variation 24 Canone All'Ottava a 1 Clav.
Variation 25 a 2 Clav.
Variation 26 a 2 Clav.
Variation 27 Canone Alla Nona
Variation 28 a 2 Clav.
Variation 29 a 1 Ovvero 2 Clav.
Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet
Aria da Capo

Glenn Gould was as much of a musical prodigy as you can get. He hummed instead of crying as a baby and was playing music before he could read words. Throughout his life, he wrote, composed, arranged and conducted music, as well as being a radio announcer later on.

He did some of his own composition, but when it came to performing classical pieces, Bach was his main squeeze. He dabbled in other composers as well, but they were never with the same amount of focus. His playing on this record shows his intimate knowledge of classical music. He didn't just play it, he felt it and understood it completely. When classical piano is played well, it feels as if the fingers of the player are moving automatically and freely across the keyboard.

I am always on the hunt for classical music that I can tolerate listening to and this record gives me hope. At times it does sort of sound like the soundtrack to the parts of a black and white film where the person is skipping along; before they run into the villain and the minor chords kick in. Overall I enjoyed this record and am proud to have Glenn Gould in the musical heritage of Canada.

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