February 6, 2008

Glenn Gould revisited

I felt a little bad about criticizing Canadian pianist Glenn Gould's playing of the Mozart sonatas, on the occasion of that composer's 252nd birthday. Now I feel I need to make amends. So, below are links to Glenn Gould performing J.S. Bach's Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828.

The keyboard Partitas (there are six of them, originally published in the late 1720s) are suites of short pieces derived from French dance forms, as indicated by the movement titles. Bach composed a number of such works for various instruments. The music is ingenious and sublime and these performances are unparalleled, as are all of Glenn Gould's Bach recordings. Additionally the YouTube transfers are close to as good as they get, no pixellation and with the audio in near perfect sync with the pictures.

Apart from his sheer brilliance, they also highlight a few of Glenn Gould's numerous eccentricities, including the humming, the self-conducting, and the famous battered dining room chair with its legs sawn off.

Enjoy, and marvel. 2008 is the Year of Glenn Gould.

I. Ouverture (4:51) II. Allemande (5:44) III. Courante (3:14)
IV. Aria (1:14) V. Sarabande (5:15) VI. Menuet (1:18)
VII. Gigue (1:23)


Anonymous said...

Thanks IT. I thoroughly enjoyed those.

I am unqualified to determine a winner in the IT vs. Esenberg lawyering duel, but if I were judging taste in music my nod goes to you.

illusory tenant said...

My pleasure. Speaking as a rank amateur, listening to Glenn Gould alternately makes me want to practice more or else set fire to my piano and roll it off a high cliff.

Anonymous said...

After I've listened to Glenn Gould enough to know the music upside and down, I've always liked to listen to a harpsichord rendition of the same recording performed by, for example, Trevor Pinnock. Glenn Gould's style sounds romantic in comparison. I'll echo 3d's kudos on your taste in music.

illusory tenant said...

I second the Pinnock props.

Anonymous said...

I am Canadian, and I detest Glenn Gould. His odious, ugly humming ruins any performance that he recorded. I have many of his CDs, and the few times I listen to them I like him less and less.

The humming is not cute, it's not charming. Bach does not need the "enhancement" of Gould's cacophonic troll-like mutterings.

Plus, why does he play the Prelude No. 1 in C (BWV 846) in staccato? It sounds like a joke. Play it legato, you buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Say what you mean, Pierre.

I have been expecting I will recant my approval, nay, adoration, of Glenn Gould's recordings. I assume, and will continue to, that Gould's appeal will fade and be replaced by new canonical renditions.

I am still waiting for this new perspective and firmament. I so want to become someone who isn't fully engaged by an utter narcissist and self-engaged man. I really should hate that which I share with my neighbors.

I see your mind is made up.

Bryan Carney