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Bach: French Suites, BWV 812-817 (Glenn Gould Anniversary Edition)

Glenn Gould

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Customer Reviews

Probably the Greatest Recording of the French Suites Ever

Gould's recording of the French Suites is simply masterful. Unless you are a purest, believing the suites should only be performed on the harpsichord, it is difficult to find any fault in this recording. Gould brings to life these six suites, which Bach originally gifted to his second wife upon their marriage. I've listened to dozens of versions of the French Suites and many sound mechanical and almost dull. Gould makes the music dance with free expression and joy in a way I'm sure Bach would have be pleased with. Although Gould is often given to extremes in his interpretations (especially in the most well known pieces), his interpretation of the French Suites is without excess. In virtually every piece he articulates each individual voice with such clarity, and in such concord with the other voices, that I often think at the end of a song, "Ah, so that is how it was meant to be played."


This is an invaluable addition to your Bach collection. Gould is in rare form here, his scintillating articulation, boundless energy, and contageous humor all at their peak. His sound has such a clarity here, not to mention a true warmth and glow. As a performer, he makes you constantly think, "Ah! Why didn't I think of that? Now I shall be accused of copying Gould if I even dare to play it that way!" :) Incidentally, the ornamentation of the sarabande from Suite no. 3 is simply inspired - what a unique and fresh approach to this oft overly-romanticized dance.

Dear Confused

Dear Confused,

There are different styles of playing things, different tastes, and no one right answer. Obviously, your tastes are not the majority's tastes. Doesn't mean anyone's right or wrong.

If you don't like Gould, don't buy four (!) albums. The Dinnerstein (?) Goldberg Variations are swell, and very different. Many others play them on harpsichord, which I personally can't stand.

Gould speaks to me. I find his precision and lack of ornamentation lay bare the deep beauty of Bach's work. Some days I prefer the breakneck 1955 Goldberg; other days the 1981 elegiacal, thoughtful version.

Do your thing!


Born: September 25, 1932 in Canada

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The most renowned Canadian classical performer of the 20th century, pianist Glenn Gould remains one of the most fascinating and celebrated figures in all of music, the archetypal riddle wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a conundrum. A former child prodigy, his piano artistry was unparalleled, yet he often received less recognition as a virtuoso than as a troubled eccentric; a disconnected recluse notorious for such odd habits as wearing a wool topcoat in the dog days of summer, Gould was a...
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Bach: French Suites, BWV 812-817 (Glenn Gould Anniversary Edition), Glenn Gould
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