COMPOSERS: CPE Bach,Gould,JS Bach,Scarlatti,Scriabin
WORKS: Italian Concerto; Sonatas, K9, K13 & K430; Württemberg Sonata No. 1; Deux morceaux, Op. 57; Ophelia Lieder; o You Want to Write aFugue?; Two comic discussions
PERFORMER: Glenn Gould (piano), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Elizabeth Benson-Guy (soprano), Anita Darian (mezzo-soprano), Charles Bressler (tenor), Donald Gramm (bass); Juilliard String Quartet/Vladimir Golschmann
CATALOGUE NO: S2K 60686 ADD/DDD Reissue (1980)
This double disc set captures many aspects of Gould’s penetrating and witty intelligence. It includes a spoof radio broadcast, written by Gould, in which the pianist portrays himself in discussion with several heavily accented music critics, and to judge by this, if Gould were still alive today Rory Bremner might be fearing for his job.
The first disc closes with Gould’s own composition, the sparky vocal and string quartet So You Want to Write a Fugue – a rare delight. But Sony has mysteriously included Gould’s last recording for Columbia and CBS, which Gould himself rejected. ‘The reason for Gould’s dissatisfaction with the final outcome… remains unclear,’ says the booklet. But I suspect Gould knew better: this Bach Italian Concerto is an ugly caricature – the stilted style, the loud obligato humming, carried to impossible extremes. The Scarlatti also irritates, but the rest of the music is at least worthy as a tribute to a great artist. Jessica Duchen