Glenn Gould

Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Preludes and Fugues 9-16

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In 1969, two years after he recorded the first eight preludes and fugues from Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Canadian pianist Glenn Gould recorded the next eight preludes and fugues. Being Gould, he recorded them in his own way: out of order. Blessedly, Gould's producer Andrew Kazdin found a way to reduce the recorded impact of Gould's unstoppable vocal obbligato, and the listener is thus able to enjoy Gould's performance without that impediment.

As in the previous volume and as always with Bach, Gould's playing is crisp, clear, and propulsive. With his clean attack, lucid articulation, and bright textures, Gould's performances provide absolutely transparent representations of the music. Some listeners objected at the time, and some listeners object still, to Gould's percussive touch, his quirky phrasing, and his oddly subjective approach. Gould is delivering exactly the performances he wants to deliver and, challenging as they are, they are completely convincing.

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