Glenn Gould on Canada Day
I recently came across a video on YouTube that I never knew existed. I found out that the 1981 recording sessions of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations of J. S. Bach had been recorded on video. It was his second complete studio recording of Bach’s masterful set of 30 variations on a serene and lovely aria.
The first recording from 1955 had made Gould world famous almost overnight by shaking the cobwebs off of this wonderful music and playing it like it had never been heard before, with urgent, electric energy. A quarter of a century later, near the end of his all too short life, he returned to the studio to record the Goldberg Variations again. He brought his more mature insights and reflections into his reconsideration of this keyboard masterpiece.
Fans of Glenn Gould’s Bach performances will have their favorite version and could probably debate for hours why they prefer one over the other. A lot has been said about both of them. For me, his 1981 recording was the first keyboard music that grabbed my attention and riveted me in front of the speakers of my stereo. I was just starting out in my discovery and exploration of the world of classical music. At that point, I was mainly interested in the orchestral repertoire and was discovering the great works of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach for the first time.
And now, I discovered one of my favorite recordings was on video, too. So, for this Canada Day, why not hear some of this great music from Canada’s most famous classical artist, Glenn Gould? Here he is performing the Goldberg Variations of Johann Sebastian Bach, which can be seen above.