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Tag: Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould – 50 Masterworks (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Glenn Gould – 50 Masterworks (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 03:15:05 minutes | 1,72 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Sony Classical

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 sight to behold even in live performances – seated on a low chair and slumped over the keyboard, humming (sometimes singing) audibly to himself as he played, all the while conducting with his free hand. Gould’s impossible technique and singular behavior were so hotly debated by scholars that often it seemed that his actual skills were negligible; perhaps it’s not surprising that at the age of just 31, he left public performance behind forever, turning instead to broadcasting and writing, as well as an almost obsessive exploration of modern recording technology.

Gould was born in Toronto, Ontario, on September 25, 1932, the product of a musical family that included his father, an amateur violinist, and his mother, a pianist and organist; Edvard Grieg was a distant relation as well. Even at the age of three, Gould evidenced prodigious skills – in addition to his absolute pitch, he was already able to read staff notation, and just two years later he authored his first compositions. At the age of ten, he began lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and in 1944 took home the piano trophy from the annual Kiwanis Music Festival, the only such contest he ever entered in response to his strong opposition to the idea of competitive performance. In 1945, Gould passed his associateship examination as a solo performer at the Royal Conservatory; that same year he offered his first public performance on the organ, a concert reviewed under the headline “Boy, Age 12, Shows Genius as Organist.”

At the age of 14, Gould made his debut as soloist at a Royal Conservatory orchestral performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. His first public recital was in 1947, and featured works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt; his debut network radio recital followed over CBC airwaves in 1950, and marked the beginning of his long relationship with broadcasting and recording. In early 1955, Gould made his New York debut, and within hours signed with Columbia’s Masterworks imprint. His first recording, a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, became an instant best-seller, and he went on to make over 60 more recordings for the label in the years to follow. In 1957, Gould toured Europe, and at the peak of Cold War tensions he became the first North American ever to perform in the Soviet Union. His concert career continued to great success during the early ’60s, but in Los Angeles on April 10, 1964 – with no advance warning, and without fanfare – he delivered his final public performance.

Gould’s decision to retire from live performances was in part a result of his desire to focus more of his energies on writing, broadcasting, composing, and conducting; his first major new project was a “sound documentary” called The Idea of North, a philosophical musing on the meaning of northern existence. Keeping in contact with the outside world primarily over the telephone, Gould was often out of the spotlight for long periods of time, but in 1981 he broke with his long tradition of not re-recording material to return to the work with which he remained most closely identified, the Goldberg Variations; his decision was motivated in large part by the vast improvements in technology during the quarter century that separated the two recordings. Months later, he formed a Toronto chamber orchestra, serving as their conductor on a recording of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll; it was his last major work – Gould died on October 4, 1982, after suffering a stroke. He was just 50 years old. ~ Jason Ankeny

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Glenn Gould – The Complete Columbia Album Collection (2015 Remastered Edition) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Glenn Gould – The Complete Columbia Album Collection (2015 Remastered Edition)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 58:16:23 minutes | 31,6 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Sony Classical

78 DISKS – 960 TRACKS – TOTAL LENGTH: 58:16:23

In 1955 Glenn Gould signed his exclusive contract with Columbia Masterworks, and remained with the label until his untimely death in 1982. Gould s first release, Bach s Goldberg Variations, released in January 1956, took the music world by storm, and immediately established the 22-year-old Canadian pianist as one of the most brilliant, original, charismatic and provocative classical performers of his time.

Born in Toronto on September 25, 1932, Gould studied at first with his mother, and subsequently with Alberto Guerrero at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. He began performing concerts as a teenager, while his first CBC radio recital in 1950 launched his love affair with the microphone . By his late teens Gould s artistic persona was fully formed. Right at the start he favoured unusual programs, with Bach, Byrd, Gibbons, Sweelinck, Haydn and Beethoven on one side, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Hindemith on the other, broaching the Romantics selectively. In 1957 Gould became the first North American to perform in the Soviet Union since World War II. After less than a decade of international concertizing, Gould retired from the stage at 31 in 1964 to focus on recording, television work, creating innovative radio documentaries, and writing articles and essays.

Few pianists are so easily identifiable as Gould, whose rhythmic acuity, breathtakingly clean articulation, and scintillating technical aplomb still leave a formidable individual imprint, from his brashly controversial Mozart Sonata cycle and spacious Brahms Intermezzi to his fiercely committed 20th-century music interpretations and, of course, his bracing, joyous and highly influential Bach.

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Georg Friedrich Handel – Suites for Harpsichord Nos. 1-4, HWV 426-429 – Glenn Gould (1972/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Georg Friedrich Handel – Suites for Harpsichord Nos. 1-4, HWV 426-429 – Glenn Gould (1972/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 43:28 minutes | 475 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Gould’s only recording on harpsichord owed its existence to a transportation mishap suffered by his Steinway CD 318. Once again the critics’ reactions ranged from rejection to outrage. Gould himself was so satisfied with the results that he once contemplated recording Part 2 of The Art of the Fugue on this instrument—a Wittmayer harpsichord.

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 – Glenn Gould (1968/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 – Glenn Gould (1968/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:15 minutes | 368 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Joke, satire, irony, deeper significance: the back cover of Gould’s gripping recording contained four imaginary reviews by an English critic (Sir Humphrey Price-Davies), a Munich musicologist (Dr. Karlheinz Heinkel), an American psychiatrist (Prof. S. F. Lemming), and the American corres pondent to the Journal of the All-Union Musical Workers of Budapest. All were written by Gould himself …

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 30-32 – Glenn Gould (1956/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 30-32 – Glenn Gould (1956/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 55:09 minutes | 303 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Sensation yields to scandal: Gould’s feisty and headstrong treatment of the final triptych in Beethoven’s pianistic “New Testament” outraged the critics no less than his sleeve notes, in which he claimed of op. 111 that “the piece is weak in spots; it needs greater speed. Especially the first movement is such a bad piece that I wanted to get on to the finale.”

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 16-18 – Glenn Gould (1973/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 16-18 – Glenn Gould (1973/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 57:52 minutes | 530 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

This was the last of five new recordings released in September 1973, appearing one day after the four others. It marked the end of a long and often convoluted process: the first bars of the op. 31 triptych were recorded in July 1960, the final session took place almost thirteen years later on 15 May 1973! Amazingly, none of this is evident in the sonatas themselves.

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 12 & 13 – Glenn Gould (1983/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 12 & 13 – Glenn Gould (1983/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 43:45 minutes | 380 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Another Beethoven album. With this, Gould had turned out of a total of twenty-one of the thirty-two Beethoven sonatas—or perhaps twentytwo, for the “artist contract cards” of 1979-80 refer to a recording of the B-flat major Sonata, op. 22, that has never resurfaced. Several of the missing sonatas (the Largo from op. 7, the G-minor Sonata op. 49, no. 1, the A-major Sonata op. 101, the Hammerklavier op. 106) at least exist in the form of live CBC recordings.

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 8-10 – Glenn Gould (1967/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 8-10 – Glenn Gould (1967/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 41:58 minutes | 389 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Amazingly, Gould’s third LP of Beethoven sonatas met with hardly any grumblings from the critics and was, all in all, warmly received. True, one reviewer spoke of “iconoclastic interpretations,” but acknowledged that it enabled listeners to discover a completely new Beethoven. Admittedly Gould’s Appassionata languished in the ice-box …

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 14 & 23 – Glenn Gould (1970/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 14 & 23 – Glenn Gould (1970/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 57:09 minutes | 531 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

Yet another scandal: Gould played the F-minor Piano Sonata, op. 57, at such a tortuously slow tempo that it seemed to fall into unrelated bits. “There is about the Appassionata – an egoistic pomposity, a defiant ‘let’s just see if I can’t get away with using that once more’ attitude—that on my own private Beethoven poll places this sonata somewhere between the King Stephen Overture and the Wellington’s Victory Symphony.”

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 5-7, Op. 10 – Glenn Gould (1965/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatas Nos. 5-7, Op. 10 – Glenn Gould (1965/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 42:06 minutes | 389 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Columbia Records

The “scandal” surrounding Beethoven’s final triptych of sonatas (see No. 2) failed to rematerialize, but Gould remained true to his unorthodox interpretative approach and brazenly violated the composer’s instructions, changing the tempo of the F-major sonata at the opening of the firstmovement recapitulation and substituting a fortissimo for a pianissimo in movement 3 of the D-major Sonata.

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