Glenn Gould - Moscow Recital: 12 May 1957

Author: 
Christopher Headington

Glenn Gould - Moscow Recital: 12 May 1957

  • Sonata for Piano
  • Variations
  • Piano Sonata No. 3
  • (Die) Kunst der Fuge, '(The) Art of Fugue'
  • Goldberg Variations
  • Sonata for Piano
  • Variations
  • Piano Sonata No. 3
  • (Die) Kunst der Fuge, '(The) Art of Fugue'
  • Goldberg Variations

This is not so much a recital as the illustrations Glenn Gould provided for a lecture to Moscow students in 1957 on the Second Viennese School, followed by an encore-like Bach selection. The quality of the recording shows this and so does the material: it is odd even by Gould-eccentricity standards to have just two non-consecutive movements of the Krenek Third Piano Sonata (1943), and tantalizing too when Gould calls this ''one of the best piano compositions of this century...I really wanted to play it for you''. Incidentally, the opus number given in the information supplied with the disc should be Op. 92 No. 4 according to Grove. Beyond the playing itself, there are the pianist's spoken comments, evidently unprepared, translated neatly into Russian by an interpreter closer to the microphone (Gould mispronounces both the German word 'von' and 'passacaglia'). This disc also includes the theme (arr. Gould?) of Webern's orchestral Passacaglia.
The Berg Sonata makes a good beginning, even though a harshness of tone here as elsewhere will not be to all tastes. My copy of the Webern Variations resolutely defies location after a recent house move and so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the purposeful playing here—the pianist apologizes ''because I haven't practised it in two years''! The Bach excerpts of Contrapuncti (IV becoming a toccata here) and non-sequential Goldberg Variations are always interesting. But Gould really does batter the keyboard in forte. The student audience is friendly but noisy.'

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