Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Glenn Gould plays Bach - Vol. 2
Keyboard Concerto in F minor BWV 1056 [10:19]
Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D major BWV 1050 [21:28]
15 Three Part Inventions BWV 787-801 [25:21]
Glenn Gould (piano)
CBC Symphony Orchestra/Nicholas Goldschmidt
Misha Mishakoff (violin), Albert Tripton (flute)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray
rec. 11 September 1957, 13 October 1960, 15 March 1955, Toronto, Detroit, Toronto
Glenn Gould’s name on the front of anything is surely a guarantee of sales. This CD is of live recordings made in 1955, 1957 and 1960. Gould was so prolific in his output of recordings that the real draw of this CD is to enable comparisons between Gould’s other recordings and live performances. The sound quality isn’t brilliant, there are plenty better. Compared to the recording available of the same work made in 1969, (Vladimir Golschmann, Columbia Symphony Orchestra Sony 93089) the clarity is very poor. It is very difficult not to let this influence an opinion of the recording. In the third movement of the Concerto in F minor the dialogue between soloist and ensemble is ruined as the strings are barely audible. Despite all this, Gould’s playing is marvellous. The last movement is at a faster tempo than the 1967 version and Gould seems to be in the driving seat. It is very exciting.
All the above comments on recording quality are applicable to the Brandenburg Concerto as well. The violinist and flautist sound wobbly and out of tune because of this. The interpretation is very exciting, although, unlike in the previous piece, Gould doesn’t seem to be leading the performance in quite the same way.
The Three Part Inventions are the easiest to listen to. The recording quality creates a nostalgic feeling rather than irritation. There are interesting differences between this recording and the performance recorded live in Moscow in 1957 (also released by Sony 541188). The Moscow recording has faster tempi for both slow and fast movements. This creates a sense of brightness in the faster movements but the slower tempo in the Toronto recording makes the slow movements even more sorrowful and heartfelt.
There are zero programme notes, the CD booklet barely indicates the performers for each work, and perhaps sympathy would have been gained from a brief explanation about the process of transferring these recordings to digital. This CD would be appreciated by a true Glenn Gould fanatic but, due to the sound quality, other recordings by the greatest of pianists are better.
Hannah Parry-Ridout 

Quality of playing - superb; quality of sound - disappointing. 

see also review of Volume 1 by Dominy Clements 

Masterwork Index: Brandenburg concerto 5 ~~ Keyboard concertos

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