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  • Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981
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Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981


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Audio CD, September 3, 2002
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Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder - The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981 + Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven: The 5 Piano Concertos
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Product Details

  • Performer: Glenn Gould
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (September 3, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 155 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006FI7C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,442 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 1. Aria
2. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 2. Variation 1
3. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 3. Variation 2
4. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 4. Variation 3. Canon on the unison
5. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 5. Variation 4
6. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 6. Variation 5
See all 32 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 1. Aria
2. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 2. Variation 1
3. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 3. Variation 2
4. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 4. Variation 3. Canon on the unison
5. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 5. Variation 4
6. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): 6. Variation 5
See all 32 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Glenn Gould discusses his performances of the Goldberg Variations with Tim Page (Interview)
2. Studio Outtakes from the 1955 Goldberg Variations Recording Session

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Glenn Gould's recording debut in 1955 of Bach's Goldberg Variations took the world by storm. His decidedly un-Romantic view, absolute technical skill, startling lucidity, and right-on rhythmic changes, combined with his eccentricities--audible humming, sometimes outrageously fast tempi--made him an instantly legendary pianist and elucidated Bach's music in a whole new way. Gould's final recording, 26 years later, was also of the Goldbergs. It's a more relaxed, sometimes much slower, more inward reading (although still very much his own, complete with oddly ferocious attacks and accents), in which he offers repeats of the first half of 15 of the Variations. Both performances are glorious, each in its own way, and this luxurious new set of three CDs is entertaining, a joy to hear, and revelatory; it belongs in any music lover's collection. The third CD is devoted to outtakes and chatter from recording sessions. At one point, Gould improvises "God Save the King" and exhibits how it turns into "The Star-Spangled Banner." And a long interview with critic Tim Page offers great insight into Gould's weird humor and unique outlook. A must-have collection. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

As a pianist and an avid fan of Glenn Gould.
Jeremy Porter
Some people are a little put off by the fact that in the later recording Gould lets himself hum along with the music he knows so well.
Mark Lee
Very much worth the twenty dollars (or so) that this CD set costs.
L. Berk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

395 of 399 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Schafer on September 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
These two performances of the Goldberg Variations have been reissued so many times. But what makes this new reissue stand out is the bonus interview & outtakes of the 1955 recording sessions, plus all brand new remastered sound using Direct Stream Digital technology, with 2.83 MHz sampling frequency yielding high resolution results on standard CD.
I was a little hesitant to purchase this set at first because I already own both versions of these piece. But after I bought and listened to it, I must say I don't regret it at all.
In 1981, Gould recorded his latest thoughts on the Goldberg Variations. Some people expressed the opinion then that the digital Lp & CD sound was unkindly analytical, lacking timbre, causing the notes to appear disconnected from each other.
Twenty years have passed since Gould's untimely death and to honour him and set the record straight, Sony Music returned to the analogue master tapes made at the same session. In the early 1980's, digital technology was in its infancy and technically imperfect. By contrast, analog technology had reached its peak. As a precaution of early digital imperfection, what many recording companies did, including Sony Music, was running two recording medium simultaneously side-by-side at the recording session and mark analog version as "safety master" in case there's anything wrong with the digital masters. From the technical notes in the booklet of this CD set, when Sony gave the green light to this "State of wonder" project, Sony A&R, reissue producer and two sound engineers as well as a project adviser, Mr. Tim page, made a Digital vs. Analog comparison and they found that the analog safety master has much superior sound that no one had ever heard before.
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on November 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two decades after his death, Glenn Gould's art remains undiminished in stature, as lustrous and diamond-hard as his carefully sculpted recorded interpretations. This CD brings together in one deluxe package his two recorded performances of Bach's Goldberg variations, the first of which shot him to immediate, lasting, and deserved prominence on the musical scene. Even now, close to five decades after its release, the clarity, brilliant technique and sheer energy Gould brings to Bach in this 1955 performance takes one's breath away. Historically accurate performance it is not, but something more important--a rendition that brings the music back to life, fresh and new.
The later, valedictory recording, released just before Gould died of a stroke in 1982, makes a fascinating contrast, generally slower and more contemplative (with more repeats taken, though not all), and oddly demarcated inner voices and accentuations that nevertheless illuminate the complexities of Bach's music in a way perhaps no one has done before or since. The sound, remastered from analogue tapes made at the time of the original digital recording, is even better than in the original release
There is a third disc that includes an "interview," carefully scripted, with Gould by the critic Tim Page. It is not surprising that someone as obsessed with the process of producing the perfect musical recording as Gould was would have wanted to exercise the same control over a verbal discussion as well! As a bonus there are also outtakes from the 1955 recording sessions. The packaging includes numerous photographs of the pianist in various stages of his life, as well as essays by Gould, Page, and others. This is an album that should be in every pianist's, piano aficionado's, and music lover's collection. Bravo!
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Porter on September 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As a pianist and an avid fan of Glenn Gould. I have never heard his Goldberg Variations sound so wonderful, pure and fresh as this newly remastered 3CD set. This is a no brainer! I used to dislike the 1981 version for its slow tempi and very hash,brittle and congest sound of early, primitive, Digital Recording. Luckily, this time, Sony went back to the original analog master which was recorded simultaneously, as a pre- caution, at the session. In 1981, analog technology was at its peak. With properly adjusted and aligned, the analog has, surprisingly, far better fidelity than early digital technology. Now, you can hear the 1981 version in its full rich sound, with no hint of early digital nasties. It has changed my old opinion toward Gould's 1981 version, like a new discovery. Now, I love both version in a different way. Thanks for this exceptional 3 CD set. Bravo!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Already owning both versions of this piece, I was somewhat reluctant to purchase it again, fearing that this was just another marketing ploy to part me from my hard-earned cash. That said, it is anything but. This newly re-mastered version of the 1981 version is clearly superior. The highlight of this set, however, is the third interview disk, which provides illuminating information on how Gould approaches the Goldberg Variations. A must have.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Sony Music has done a marvelous job for this 3 CD set. The 1955 & 1981 Goldberg Variations never sounded better. On CD1 (1955 version), the sound is much improved than the earlier "Glenn Gould Edition CD" originally released in early 1990's. Now, there's no sense of congestion & hashness on the piano sound. You can hear the inner details and sense of freedom and breath of notes so clearly on this new CD. No fake noise reduction or souped up sound like what you can find in the 1990's Glenn Gould Edition remastered. Everything just sounds right for the first time on "State of Wonder" CD.
The CD2 (1981 version) is a revelation. Compared the Glenn Gould Edition CD with this newly remastered is like a night and day! Suddently, there's the light shines through every notes of this 1981 recording. It sings so beautifully on this new CD!
On CD3, a wonderful (scripted)interview and the outtakes of 1955 Goldberg Variations with same sonic treatment.
In summary, I'm very happy I bought this wonderful "State of Wonder" 3CD set although I also own the Glenn Gould Edition CDs that released 10 years ago. Now, I'm planning to visit used CD stores and ask if they want my older remastered Glenn Gould Edition CDs. I hope they do!
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A Question on how to listen to Goldbergs
Whatever you choose as these are short pieces.
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