Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould Recording)
Bach: The Goldberg Variations is the 1955 debut album of the Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould. An interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the work launched Gould's career as a renowned international pianist, and became one of the most well-known piano recordings. Sales were "astonishing" for a classical album: it was reported to have sold 40,000 copies by 1960, and had sold more than 100,000 by the time of Gould's death in 1982. By year 2000, the sale of his 1981 recording of The Goldberg Variations exceeded two million copies.
At the time of the album's release, Bach's Goldberg Variations—a set of 30 contrapuntal variations beginning and ending with an aria—was outside the standard piano repertoire, having been recorded on the instrument only a few times before, either on small labels or unreleased. The work was considered esoteric and technically demanding, requiring awkward hand crossing in various places when played on a piano. Gould's album both established the Goldberg Variations within the contemporary classical repertoire and made him an internationally famous pianist nearly "overnight". First played in concert by Gould in 1954, the composition was a staple of Gould's performances in the years following the recording.
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... Gould commented in a 1959 interview with Alan Rich that he had begun to study the Goldberg Variations in about 1950 ... It was one of the first works that he had learned "entirely without my teacher", and which he had "made up my mind about relatively " ...
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