As a part of the “iTunes Essentials: Classical” series, two of Glenn Gould’s most popular recordings are available for a special price until 16 March 2014. His first recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 1955 helped him to gain worldwide fame, and his return to this piece in 1981 shows his development over years as a pianist.
Glenn Gould would have turned 81 on September 25 if he were still alive. iTunes Essentials celebrates this date and features Glenn Gould’s Bach Goldberg Variations this week! Gould’s initial recording of the piece, from 1955, was an achievement of technical brilliance that established his career; his thoughtful return to it in 1981 illustrated how the same composition, played by the same musician, can become a wholly different work of art.
The Acoustic Orchestrations features Scriabin’s virtuosic Piano Sonata No. 5, recorded by Gould in 1970 and presented here, for the first time, in the fully “orchestrated” form Gould intended but never fully realized during his lifetime. The restoration and realization of the Scrabin recording is the work of Gould scholar, Paul Théberge, who says: “The Sonata No. 5 was the first, and most ambitious of Gould’s multi-track experiments: employing numerous microphones spread throughout the studio and recorded onto 8-track tape, Gould planned his final mixes much as a film director might assemble a film from a series of close-ups and long shots, hard cuts and dissolves. The results are, by turn, subtle and dramatic, lending an acoustic dimension to the recorded music that is truly “orchestral” in character.”
The release also includes a new multi-track mix of two preludes by Scriabin and previously released recordings of music by Sibelius that offer further insights into Gould’s technique.