Bach: The Two and Three Part Inventions; Sinfonias
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Top Customer Reviews
For the uninitiated Gould listener, this album is eyebrow-raising. Some might even find it vulgar and off-putting. There's many obstacles in the way: the piano in this recording has serious malfunction, with a pronounced "hiccup" heard in the low-middle range. You'll also have to contend with Gould's creaking, noisy chair, which sometimes makes it sound as if this album were recorded in front of a large bonfire. Then there's the oft-mentioned Gould vocalise, which is more audible than ever here. The tempos are almost bi-polar in nature; either excruciatingly slow or hyper-fast, with not too much gray area in between. If that proves anything, it's that Gould had an almost superhuman technique which allowed him to play clean at extremely fast tempos, and with a profound emotional depth at slower tempos. No one can play as well at slow tempos as Gould does.
It has gotten to the point where I don't even have to make any attempt to block out these extraneous sounds. It's all part of what is, in summation, one of the most highly original and musical Bach albums ever issued.
I simply choose to ignore (or smile at) the occasional hum. When we deal with people we deal with their falacies. Good art is not sterile but (I prefer to think) important, creative and more than anything, human. I am not sure if Gould was not slyly trying to tick off the critics with some of his antics. After the Goldberg I was expecting big things from this album and I was not disappointed. Gould has an inimitable manner in which he seems to imbue each note with his entire being, with all the artistry that he possesses. He excells at structure and has the ability to rework the architecture of a piece (think of his Brahms), maintaining the form while emphasizing a phrase here, a pause there, bringing out an internal melody not apparent in other hands, pouring his soul into each note. He becomes his music as few artists are able to do.
The Inventions were sheer prefection and the 3-parts were even better. It goes without saying that the tone of the instrument was superb. Even after only a few seconds, one easily detects that Gould "touch" - the purity of tone, the clarity of note, the almost imagined hesitancy in the performance as if the artists were still searching for the best presentation. My grade: A
The liner-note makes rather a song and dance of its own about the piano used for the recordings. It apparently suffered certain vicissitudes in the course of being transported around north America, and the first attempts at using it for recording these works had to be abandoned. With patience and perseverance they all got it back into an acceptable condition, and Gould himself contributes a commentary on the matter. He points out certain shortcomings in the sound of the instrument which have then been acutely perceived by others although not so much by myself even after being told about them. The only objective fault I find is a curious subdued `tick', and I can only say that after a lifetime of putting up with far worse on LP this minor blemish gives me no problem whatsoever. As often there is some background vocalising by the maestro himself. This is quiet, it is only intermittent, it is at least tuneful and I am accustomed to it from Gould, and again I simply could not care less. What I would say is that I like the sound of the instrument in general rather less than on some of Gould's other recordings, and that is a perception of my own and not something I have been told to look for, but once again it bothers me very little indeed.
The playing itself is exactly as one would expect it to be. The touch is non-legato, the precision of the fingerwork is phenomenal, little or no use is made of the pedals, there is comparatively little in the way of dynamic variation but there are enormous contrasts in the speeds adopted.Read more ›
By the time he began playing I would be in bed, and the music would float upwards through the little house like faint scents I knew even then, lilacs perhaps, or roses. The sun would slowly go down, the light would slowly fade, and the music would gently go on and on and on. To me, Gould's quaint noises and the noises of his piano are very naturally part and parcel of the inventions and the Italian Concerto. I learned these pieces through my father's playing, as birds twittered in the twilight outside my window, while I heard my mother cleaning up the kitchen downstairs and listened to the settling of the house itself.
I feel sorry for those who've only known this music in concert halls or on records or CD's. Music like this can be and should be an integral part of daily life, blended with other normal human daily activities. (Including coughing and nose-blowing.) All such things enhance each other. The supposed imperfections of this recording, together with the perfection of Gould's playing, combine to make a whole far better than what we would have heard if the supposedly extraneous noises had been edited out. This is a superb presentation, just as it is, and any lover of either Bach or Gould should have it in their collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Looked for this one for years after I lost my first (tape) copy. This is my favorite Glen Gould.Published 20 months ago by Massage Beverly
Like almost everything he composed, the Two- and Three-part Inventions (or Inventions and Sinfonias) express the inner joy of Bach in his music. Read morePublished on March 19, 2014 by Bahij Bawarshi
Glen Gould, eccentric, introverted, unorthodox in every way, was one of the world's premier interpreters of Bach's keyboard works. Read morePublished on January 25, 2014 by T. Sancton
I have been a Gould listener for many decades. The artist never disappoints. Something about Gould's interpretation of Bach is timeless and unmatched. Read morePublished on June 10, 2013 by Linda R. Harrington
I'll have to check my music for tempo but a couple of these inventions are played so quickly they are but a brief flash of perfection.Published on February 3, 2013 by Ron
As I stated in my review of Kenneth Gilbert's complete harpsichord performance of Bach's Two-part and Three-part Inventions, my test of the finest performance/understanding of this... Read morePublished on January 22, 2011 by Hui Shen ben Israel
The asking price for the CD is less than $10.00.
This is for Glenn Gould playing my favorite Bach's composition, the two, and three parts Inventions and Sinfornias. Read more