Glenn Gould plays Bach (III/III)

The Goldberg Variations

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Glenn Gould — Pianist

Program notes

The great director, violinist, and writer Bruno Monsaingeon—whose incredible body of work you can discover on—brings us a captivating three-part series with the legendary pianist Glenn Gould. Over 15 years after retiring from the concert stage, Gould returns to the repertoire for which he is still so widely known and celebrated today: the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Fascinating discussions between the pianist and the documentarian are punctuated by performances given by Gould between 1979 and 1981.

The title page of the first publication of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations tells us that this work was "composed for connoisseurs, for the refreshment of their spirits." Soul-nourishing music par excellence, the variations more than live up to this description: this late work, made up of some of the composer's densest and most difficult pages, represents a sublime synthesis of the greatest aspects of his earlier output. The third episode of Monsaingeon's series offers nothing less than Glenn Gould's final recording of the Goldberg Variations, for which he has been celebrated perhaps more than any other pianist of the last century—historic, awe-inspiring footage to watch, rewatch, and cherish.

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