Glenn Gould famously abandoned the concert stage in 1964, when he was only in his early thirties, and never again played in public. All his subsequent musical output comes to us via the recording studio, radio or TV ; he evidently hated what he saw as the competitiveness of live concerts, and their inability to provide "take two-ness" ... his term for the opportunity to start again if not satisfied with his initial performance ! So this recording (of a famous recital given at the Salzburg Festival whilst touring Europe in 1959) is a rare glimpse of what it must have been like to hear the young Gould playing live.
And how wonderful it must have been. His playing has an immediacy and sheer excitement that are sometimes not so apparent on his studio recordings, despite their more comtemplative perfection, and throughout the whole recital Gould's celebrated "clarity" enhances the experience of us, his audience.
Gould opens with the Sweelinck Fantasia — it is perhaps unusual to hear this played on a modern piano — that has in parts such a delicacy of touch that it may take your breath away. He follows this with the Schoenberg (not to everyone's taste) and the Mozart (not to Gould's taste perhaps ; he famously made some rather dismissive comments about Mozart, but this recital was after all being given in Salzburg) and then, for the final section of the recital, he gives us a stunning rendition of the work most associated with him, Bach's Goldberg Variations.
Despite this work being regarded as Gould's "signature" piece, if you like, he did in fact play it very few times in public. Here we have a performance that is quite different to his two famous studio recordings, either the brilliant debut recording of 1955 or the beautiful and thoughtful rendition of 1981, made shortly before his untimely death at age 50. This live performance perhaps lacks the depth and coherence of the later recording, (the tempos of the separate variations vary quite a lot from either studio version) but there is a wonderful joy and urgency in Gould's playing, and as usual, the clarity is astonishing.
Apparently Gould played several encores at the end of this recital, but alas, no recording of these seems to have survived. A pity ; but this is a wonderful CD, and should form part of the collection not only of this artist's many admirers, but of anyone who loves the piano even if they are new to the experience of Glenn Gould's music.A Customer
Source : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Glenn-Gould-Jan-Pieterszoon-Sweelinck/dp/B000025DK4#customerReviews
Salzburg Festival Recital
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
1 Organ Fantasy 8:34
1 Suite, Op. 25 12:44
1 Präludium (Rasch)
2 Gavotte (Etwas langsam, nicht hästig) - Musette (Rascher) - Gavotte
4 Menuett (Moderato) - Trio
5 Gigue (Rasch)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330
3 I. Allegro moderato 5:14
4 II. Andante cantabile 5:53
5 III. Allagretto 3:43
Johann Sebastian Bach
6 Goldberg variations, BWV 988 36:55
Glenn Gould - p
Recorded at the Salzburg Festival, Austria ; August 23, 1959