Glenn Gould Plays Bach – DVD review

Glenn Gould

Released to mark the 30th anniversary of Glenn Gould's death, this set gathers together the three films he made with Bruno Monsaingeon between 1979 and 1981. The third contains the studio video of Gould's second recording of The Goldberg Variations, controversially slower and more considered than its 1955 predecessor. The other two consist of conversation pieces framing shorter works and extracts. The Question of Instrument wittily examines Gould's preference for the piano over the harpsichord. An Art of the Fugue, however, is the most remarkable. It starts out as a study in musical structure, but there's soon tension in the studio as Gould and Monsaingeon argue about Beethoven and Bach's respective merits. At the close Gould plays the final Contrapunctus from The Art of Fugue, which he considered the most moving music ever written. You may or may not agree, but you won't be unaffected by his performance.


Tim Ashley

The GuardianTramp

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