"I had long been an admirer of the audio CD of Gould's Goldberg. One can easily hear the genius at work. But seeing Gould in all his wackiness perched on his beat-up lucky chair conducting the right hand with the left and humming along makes the genius so much more real. To call this performance flawless is the least complimentary thing I can say. He has spoiled the Goldberg for generations of future artists who can only watch and admire. I consider this to be among the top five instrumental performances I have ever heard."
misterdiamond | Alexandria, VA USA | 01/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend of mine once gave me a copy of Gould's performance of the Golberg Variations to listen to on CD. He said, "listen to it twice -- you won't like it the first time, but listen again and it will become your favorite." He was right. I later realized that upon the first listening it was difficult to make sense of the individual parts of this piece. But after you have a sense of the whole, you can begin to appreciate its complex beauty.On this DVD, Glenn Gould himself explains that he decided to re-record the piece precisely to emphasize the connection between each of the parts in the Goldberg Variations. The result is remarkable, both in terms of sound quality and the camera movements. The disc contains sound in both PCM stereo and Dolby Digital stereo. Sony did a superb job in making you forget this masterpiece was recorded 20 years ago. And you can't watch Gould play without being drawn yourself into his passion for the music. If you enjoy Bach, this is a must buy.One nitpick: the extras on this disc are pathetic. You get about 5 minutes worth of interviews with Gould himself, and some on-screen biographical text -- merely glorified liner notes. But this disc isn't about the extras. Let's hope Sony releases more Gould DVDs!"
Do not hesitate. Get it.
misterdiamond | 10/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""This cannot be", said a famous conductor after viewing this performance. I thought the same thing after watching it too! Do not buy anything else untill you get this next. It's Gould up close for about an hour in the studio on a Yamaha grand piano. It's the most astonishing display of piano virtuosity I've ever seen. Gould worked very hard to produce this video and it was a very demanding task to complete. We are very fortunate that is was completed before Gould died about a year later.Very well produced and edited. This is how I wish all pianists were filmed- long close up shots of the hands on the piano. The audio is stereo and I highly recommend watching this video on a stereo VCR with headphones. You will feel like you are in the room with Gould. You can hear everything including chair noises, piano sqeeks, etc.. These noises are infrequent and do not interfere with the music but actually add to the whole experience. If you don't like Gould's humming, surprisingly, he hums very quietly here.Bach wrote this masterpiece for double manual harpsichord and this gave Bach the ability to write this great music with long phrases where two hands can pass over each other and not bump together (as they would on a single manual keyboard). That's why only the best pianists attempt to play this work- the two hands 'bump' into each other on a single keyboard. You'll see how Gould manages this difficult task with apparent ease in a dazzling display of virtuosity. And you'll also see why the keyboard cover on the piano was removed to facilitate the hands crossing over each other. This is one of Gould's most succesfull accomplishments. It's one of Bach's most enduring masterpieces. Do not hesitate. Get it."
An elegant and superb performance.
CarlTausig@aol.com -- Tim Couchman | Waco, Texas | 06/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In clear contrast to his 1955 recording, Glenn Gould brings a new look at Bach's Goldberg Variations by giving the listener more noble and stately tempi, while commenting via his interpretations on the "30 remarkable variations with a truly unremarkable ground bass theme...from which they are all formed and to which they all conform." Gould, in complete command of his abilities, presents the Goldberg Variations as a unified whole, as opposed to "30 somewhat single-minded pieces." As an unwavering devotee of contrapuntal music, the Goldberg Variations present Bach's unearthly talent for "...passionate aestheticism, and youthful exhibitionism." The Goldberg Variations give the performer and listener "...snapshots, randomly filed,..." which show Bach's genius through the years of his life. Glenn Gould supervised the camera work during the recording, which is evident in the camera catching the hands play at just the appropriate place, an ability sorely missing in classical videos. With this video recording, Glenn Gould returns to perform the work which granted him worldwide acclaim. In short, a remarkable compressed portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach and his arguably greatest interpreter, Glenn Gould."
Mr. R. Van Schelven | Leidschendam, The Netherlands | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All I can say is get it. The Goldberg Variations are one my favourite pieces by Bach. But hearing it played the way Glenn Gould does is amazing. I like this version better then the first version (1955)which is at times a little too fast for my taste, yet still more then excellent. Seeing Glenn Gould play this piece makes it even more powerful and appreciative. It looks at times unplayable to me. I can also recommend, especially for the people who like Bach the other in the series, XIV and XV."