64 Songs, 1 Hour 29 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thanks to a potent mix of rhythmic precision and blinding-fast tempi—just listen to the liftoff of Variation 5—Glenn Gould burst onto the record industry's radar with his 1955 performance of this Bach masterwork. Appropriately, the pianist also closed his studio career with a more ruminative (yet still exciting) version, in 1981. Gould’s distinct intelligence, palpable in both takes, has inspired generations of Bach interpreters. And though you’ll likely have a preference among them (as well as your own opinions about Gould’s murmurings from the piano bench), you simply can’t have one performance and not the other.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thanks to a potent mix of rhythmic precision and blinding-fast tempi—just listen to the liftoff of Variation 5—Glenn Gould burst onto the record industry's radar with his 1955 performance of this Bach masterwork. Appropriately, the pianist also closed his studio career with a more ruminative (yet still exciting) version, in 1981. Gould’s distinct intelligence, palpable in both takes, has inspired generations of Bach interpreters. And though you’ll likely have a preference among them (as well as your own opinions about Gould’s murmurings from the piano bench), you simply can’t have one performance and not the other.

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
72 Ratings
72 Ratings
HJM in MA ,

Uniquely Outstanding

Gould was in a class by himself in this recording.

Mrhobo9911 ,

The last song.

Pure genius.

RhapsodyinStu ,

One of the few TRUE Essentials of "iTunes Essentials."

Glenn Gould's recordings are well known and legendary. And yet, both his 1955 and his 1981 recordings exemplify very different styles. The '55 blazes by in the blink of an eye and the '81 gives more time and thoughtfulness: almost as if Gould, following the '55, shook his head and thought "Let's listen to that a little closer." As a result of buying this combination, you get a COMPREHENSIVE view of the Variations, versus a small snapshot you'd receive from a single of the CD's.

Personally, my favorite is actually Jeremy Denk's latest recording, which mixes whimsy and technique together. At the same time however, this recording is an ESSENTIAL grab for one's collection in the same way that Kleiber's 5th/7th and Karajan's 9th are.

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