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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Bach Day

From:

Walter Meyer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 31 Mar 2000 17:32:11 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (41 lines)

Kevin Sutton wrote:

>Lack of wide-spread popularity? Where do you all get some of your ideas?
>It may interest you to know that there are two (count them) two records
>in the Columbia Records (now Sony) catalogue that have never gone out of
>print since their first release.  One is Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, which
>was released in 1959.  The other is Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the
>Goldberg variations.  If that isn't widespread popularity, then please
>tell me what is.

Being no angel, I suppose I need not fear to rush in to a discussion where
my lack of credentials leaves me unencumbered by any claim toauthority than
what may derive from knowledge of what I've listened to and liked.

Prior to the 1955 release of the Gould *Goldberg* on LP, I don't believe
I'd heard any other performance than Landowska's more recent one on RCA
on the Pleyel harpsichord.  Of course I liked it.  It was Bach and, as is
characteristic of Bach, the music was consistently interesting, never a
moment of banal predictability, and never leaving me wondering why he had
chosen one note or sequence of notes rather than another.  I was listening
to Bach, oblivious of the performer, who was for me at the time the only
game in town anyway.

Then I heard a friend's newly acquired Gould recording.  Or, maybe we
both heard it broadcast, and I told him he had to buy it.  I heard no
humming or singing.  Maybe at the low fidelity we had at our disposal it
didn't carry over.  Or maybe I did hear it and thought no more about it
(as was the case in Toscanini's recording of *La Boheme*).  What I did hear
was an epiphanous presentation of a musical masterpiece.  Never had I heard
all the component voices of this work so clearly, while at the same time
continuing to perceive the work as an organic whole.  I read somewhere that
between this and Gould's last *Goldberg Variations* one contained repeats
and the other didn't.  I assume the earlier didn't contain all the repeats,
something I could of course easily determine, but I don't care now (no, I'm
not trying to sneak into the thread from Hell; anybody who feels repeats
are essential is welcome to that opinion so far as I'm concerned) and, as
a non scholar of Bach, I wouldn't have noticed at the time.  All I remember
was that I had heard a most illuminating performance of music that was
truly sublime.

Walter Meyer

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