Sunday, June 5, 2011

A great Bach fugue

I was reading Joseph Kerman's book on Bach's keyboard fugues recently. He gets very excited about the E major one from Book II. Oh yes, great piece. But then I stumbled across this performance by Glenn Gould--much slower than his one in the complete recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier.

And more powerful...

2 comments:

RG said...

I cannot remember well enough to compare the two pieces (this vs WTC album) but the deliberateness of this performance is entrancing in itself. Gould's theatre (in the video not Toronto) is fascinating -- as though he were a sculptor, or better a diamond cutter, carefully, cautiously (the Chinese say "xiao xin" with contracted heart), but ultimately boldy shaping the time with note after note after note...

Bryan Townsend said...

Oh yes, quite astonishing performance. The slow tempo just emphasizes the simplicity of the theme. Gould can control slow tempi amazingly well. Ex: the aria of the Goldberg variations in his second recording (1981?).