2007, Music

The Glenn Gould Collection Vol. 3: Johannes Sebastian Bach: The English Suites, the French Suites (2007 Compilation)

This is a compilation of Gould’s performances of many of Bach’s keyboard suites (originally intended for harpsichord but, as always, Gould plays them on piano). I am not sure of the original recording date because there is no booklet. I think he recorded them in the ’70s but I’m not sure.

I believe I have already made it known that I am a big fan of Gould’s attitude towards the past: that music is a living thing that should be reinvigorated by new generations. Though I don’t mind period recreations, I think Gould’s attitude is far healthier and generally superior – we will never know how Bach wanted each not to sound, so let’s stop obsessing over it.

That being said, I have never heard more traditional versions of these so I cannot say what Gould brings to these here – but you know the interpretations are likely idiosyncratic in terms of tempi, phrasing etc.

This is excellent stuff, and the only reason I hold back from giving it full marks is because I frankly like some of Bach’s other keyboard music a whole lot more, at least at the moment. But still this is pretty essential listening for fans of Gould, Bach or the piano.

9/10

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