Yet Another Release of Glenn Gould’s 1955 Goldberg Variations Album

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You can’t blame Sony Records (formerly Columbia) for “exploiting” their back catalogue, yet they’ve found yet another way to release Glenn Gould’s groundbreaking 1955 Goldberg Variations album. This time, it’s an 8-disc release of the complete recording sessions, with all takes, plus the final edit, the interview he realized with Tim Page, and a vinyl version of the record. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Yes, this is a great recording, but does one really need to hear the outtakes? Sure, it includes a “coffee-table book,” but does one really need “45 sensational, newly discovered photos from the recording sessions?”

This sort of release does work for an artist like Bob Dylan, where outtakes are interesting, but for a classical recording, it makes no sense.

8 thoughts on “Yet Another Release of Glenn Gould’s 1955 Goldberg Variations Album

  1. It might have been ground-breaking, but it might just as well be plowed under. I find it a self-indulgent performance.

  2. It might have been ground-breaking, but it might just as well be plowed under. I find it a self-indulgent performance.

  3. There have been so many excellent versions since the original break through, which might have been needed in 1955 but hasn’t been necessary since the 70s onwards. In 2016 young pianist Igor Levit won the Gramophone record of the Year award for his version.

  4. There have been so many excellent versions since the original break through, which might have been needed in 1955 but hasn’t been necessary since the 70s onwards. In 2016 young pianist Igor Levit won the Gramophone record of the Year award for his version.

  5. It makes even less sense, and is in a way, very disrespectful to the artist in question. Gould was a notorious perfectionist. Only what he considered the perfect version (including many edits WITHIN MOVEMENTS) made it to the final cut. To sell us outtakes of his studio recordings is so contrary to what he stood for. What a crass cash grab.

    • It depends. If the cut material represents actual “mistakes”, I agree. But if they’re of different interpretations, they shed light on Gould’s thinking.

  6. It makes even less sense, and is in a way, very disrespectful to the artist in question. Gould was a notorious perfectionist. Only what he considered the perfect version (including many edits WITHIN MOVEMENTS) made it to the final cut. To sell us outtakes of his studio recordings is so contrary to what he stood for. What a crass cash grab.

    • It depends. If the cut material represents actual “mistakes”, I agree. But if they’re of different interpretations, they shed light on Gould’s thinking.

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