Gould

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Gould
LABELS: Sony Classical
WORKS: Lieberson Madrigal; String Quartet Op. 1; Two pieces for Piano; Sonata for Bassoon and Piano; Piano Sonata; ‘So You Want to Write a Fugue?’
PERFORMER: Various soloists
CATALOGUE NO: SK 47184 DDD
This disc is an absolute gem. The legendary Canadian, Glenn Gould, who died in 1982 aged only fifty, was one of the finest pianists and original thinkers of our age. He abandoned public performances in favour of the recording studio, which he believed to be the way forward. Now we discover Glenn Gould the composer, in a disc that combines hilarious parody – Lieberson Madrigal, an anniversary tribute to the President of CBS/Columbia Records (complete with sticking groove!) – and the infamous – ‘So you Want to Write a Fugue?’, written for a 1963 TV programme – with early juvenilia and his only ‘serious’ composition, a lengthy String Quartet Op. 1 (1955).

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The gracious lyricism of the piano works is clearly indebted to Berg. The String Quartet is more lushly tonal and romantic, but the promise of its haunting opening is dashed by one too many fugatos as it searches, apparently in vain, to end. Lively, committed performances, particularly from the pianist Emile Naoumoff. Annette Morreau