Bach's Goldberg Variations

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#41
So what is the verdict on this "re-performance" of the Gould 1955 and 1981? http://www.hdtracks.com/bach-the-goldberg-variations-zenph-re-performance

I ran into it in my searches for a download. The story is that someone wrote software to detect every piano key including activation and decay, plus the peddles, and then used a Yamaha piano disklavier (player piano) to recreate the original presentation. The review I heard said that it got standing ovation by people who thought they had Gould playing the same! The only difference they said was the sound of the Yamaha being obviously different than the piano he used. There are samples in the HDtracks link. Can someone listen and render an opinion? Or better yet, can we get LL21 to buy that too and add it to his list? :D
I have both the Disklavier of the 1955 and the original 1955 on CD...i have compared them. I dont listen to either version often, but i prefer the Disklavier for 1 simple reason:

If i am listening to the 1955, i am not listening super-critically because otherwise i have over a dozen Bach Variations I prefer...so its just background
...in which case i prefer the cleaner recording with less noise, hiss and the vocalization.

There are (imho) far greater differences in the recordings/masterings than the performance. A true musician might well say otherwise, but again given that i am not super-finicky about this recording but i am not particularly enamored of it...i'll take the cleaner recording.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#43

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#45
Had to listen to them again this evening. He really puts an epic performance in on these. Loving it - heaven knows how he makes the piano sing Bach so beautifully like that - hats off!
Nice! I need to dig that one out!
 
Apr 3, 2010
15,814
2
0
Seattle, WA
#46
I had so many CDs I had to rip that I finally got to this one. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FI7C?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage



I have to tell you, I was not prepared for what was about to come. As a classical newbie, I thought I would have to work hard to enjoy such content. It was the complete opposite. I froze in my seat listening to the entire album, enjoying every note. The fluidity of the piano notes was just incredible. I kept thinking how someone could sit there and play for so long with such speed yet delicacy.

Bach has become my top classical composer in my short life of listening to classical music. Question I have is how much of this amazing experience was Bach and how much of it was Glenn Gould?
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,635
240
63
Boston, MA
#47
Welcome to the club. The entire Bach family has been very prolific, so there is a lot to discover.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#48
Great to hear! I have over 12 versions! check out my list of Top 10 Classical, and you will Bach Goldberg at Number 1...there are numerous versions..i think i have listed them all here somewhere...

I had so many CDs I had to rip that I finally got to this one. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FI7C?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage



I have to tell you, I was not prepared for what was about to come. As a classical newbie, I thought I would have to work hard to enjoy such content. It was the complete opposite. I froze in my seat listening to the entire album, enjoying every note. The fluidity of the piano notes was just incredible. I kept thinking how someone could sit there and play for so long with such speed yet delicacy.

Bach has become my top classical composer in my short life of listening to classical music. Question I have is how much of this amazing experience was Bach and how much of it was Glenn Gould?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#49
Glenn Gould's interpretation is fascinating and captivating...i think his 'way' was not always so successful so there is a fair amount of Gould in here...but listen to:

Rosalyn Tureck
Michael Pletnev and i find the music captivating again

To say nothing of the fantastic jazz trio led by Jacques Loussier doing Goldberg Variations...

I had so many CDs I had to rip that I finally got to this one. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FI7C?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage



I have to tell you, I was not prepared for what was about to come. As a classical newbie, I thought I would have to work hard to enjoy such content. It was the complete opposite. I froze in my seat listening to the entire album, enjoying every note. The fluidity of the piano notes was just incredible. I kept thinking how someone could sit there and play for so long with such speed yet delicacy.

Bach has become my top classical composer in my short life of listening to classical music. Question I have is how much of this amazing experience was Bach and how much of it was Glenn Gould?
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,475
819
113
UK
#50
I had so many CDs I had to rip that I finally got to this one. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FI7C?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage



I have to tell you, I was not prepared for what was about to come. As a classical newbie, I thought I would have to work hard to enjoy such content. It was the complete opposite. I froze in my seat listening to the entire album, enjoying every note. The fluidity of the piano notes was just incredible. I kept thinking how someone could sit there and play for so long with such speed yet delicacy.

Bach has become my top classical composer in my short life of listening to classical music. Question I have is how much of this amazing experience was Bach and how much of it was Glenn Gould?
Hi Amir,

Nice observations and great that you are getting into the best genre of all.

Very impressed that in your short time you have picked out Bach! Bach is renowned for being the connoisseurs choice but not usually do people acquire this taste so quickly.

In terms of your second question, you are listening to the most famous of all - Gould and Goldberg variations is one of the epic works. I do love his interpretation but it is a little to liberal - I prefer a touch more conservatism is my Bach but each to their own.

Enjoy!
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
971
234
43
SF Bay Area
#51
I have both the Disklavier of the 1955 and the original 1955 on CD...i have compared them. I dont listen to either version often, but i prefer the Disklavier for 1 simple reason:

If i am listening to the 1955, i am not listening super-critically because otherwise i have over a dozen Bach Variations I prefer...so its just background
...in which case i prefer the cleaner recording with less noise, hiss and the vocalization.

There are (imho) far greater differences in the recordings/masterings than the performance. A true musician might well say otherwise, but again given that i am not super-finicky about this recording but i am not particularly enamored of it...i'll take the cleaner recording.
I have been looking for the Disklavier version of the Gould 1955 Goldberg Variations, ever since I got the SACD that Zenph Studios did using the Disklavier to record the performance. Can you tell me when you found the Disklavier version, since I would love to be able to hear it on our Disklavier (actually a custom Disklavier mechanism which Yamaha installed in one of their S400E grands.)

Thanks, Larry

PS a great advantage to the Zenph recording is that you have Bach without Gould's humming obbligato.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#52
Hi. When i wrote disklavier version...i meant the Zenph studios SACD which recorded a disklavier. I did not mean who own a Yamaha Disklavier piano and played the disklavier directly onto it. So you and i have the same SACD...without humming!

I have been looking for the Disklavier version of the Gould 1955 Goldberg Variations, ever since I got the SACD that Zenph Studios did using the Disklavier to record the performance. Can you tell me when you found the Disklavier version, since I would love to be able to hear it on our Disklavier (actually a custom Disklavier mechanism which Yamaha installed in one of their S400E grands.)

Thanks, Larry

PS a great advantage to the Zenph recording is that you have Bach without Gould's humming obbligato.
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
971
234
43
SF Bay Area
#53
Hi. When i wrote disklavier version...i meant the Zenph studios SACD which recorded a disklavier. I did not mean who own a Yamaha Disklavier piano and played the disklavier directly onto it. So you and i have the same SACD...without humming!
Thanks, I was hoping... Larry
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#54
Anyone heard this new remastering which was just released in Sept 2015? NOTES BY ANDREAS MEYER WHO DID THE REMASTERING:

"The [original] session reels were assembled [under Gould's direction] into a “master edit reel.” If the master edit reel was mono or stereo, it would go directly to mastering, where the proper EQ (equalization) was applied for generating a “vinyl master.” If the master edit was three-track or higher, a master stereo mix would be made; this might be a generation before the vinyl master, should further vinyl EQ be necessary for LP manufacturing. Thankfully, the archives have preserved previous generations, so today we can ignore the numerous later copies and work with the original master edits.

In the remastering studio, we maintain original analogue Studer A80, A820 and A807 machines for playback of the Gould recordings. Most of these machines are modified by JRF Magnetics in order to ensure perfect reading from the playback head stack. The signal is converted to DSD via Mytek digital converters, all the while being monitored through Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 802 series speakers (powered by Krell 600 watt amplification). This level of professional playback ensures that we hear exactly what was recorded at the studio without coloration and with greater clarity than even Glenn Gould had heard. The audio is treated in the computer using Cube-Tec restoration tools when needed, tools that allow us to remove such noises as electrical tics, pops, random studio noises, or even electrical buzzing.

Now, in 2015, we have accomplished a project that took more than three years: the analogue (and digital) remastering of Gould’s entire recorded legacy for Columbia. Remastering and restoration is not, however, a process of creating something new, but the art of bringing clarity and enhancement to the original masterpiece. Just as the restoration of the Sistine Chapel brought new life to Michelangelo’s paintings, so we’ve tried to bring new life to Glenn Gould’s recordings."

Bach.jpg
 
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dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
278
95
28
Continental Europe
#55
I purchased the High Rez file (almost 34 Gig). I quickly compared the CBS cd version of the Golderg Variations and the Well Tempered Keyboard against the remastered files. This is night and day. The remastered files are much better. A real bargain that I got for just 62 euros. I haven't compared yet against the vinyl as I have a few as well.
 

Ronm1

Member Sponsor
Feb 21, 2011
1,746
0
0
wtOMitMutb NH
#56
PS a great advantage to the Zenph recording is that you have Bach without Gould's humming obbligato.
True, but unsurprisingly IMHO, tends toward a mechanical quality on repeated listenings. So I have to put it away for awhile.
 

egidius

Member Sponsor
Feb 13, 2011
428
2
18
Switzerland
#57
I have organised an exhibition on Rudolf Serkin, Adolf Busch and Max Reger this summer as part of my festival www.klangraum-riehen.net during which we staged several performances of Serkin's 1928 Goldberg "recording" for Welte-Mignon on a fabulous Welte-Steinway of 1911. This early rendering of legendary Serkin repertoire shows, where Gould's early interpretation comes from: Inspired by the reinvention of baroque musique interpretation by giants like Wanda Landowska and Adolf Busch. The later Gould recording in fact shows a lot of respect to Rosalyn Tuareck with added time and grace as opposed to strictest rhytms as known from early Gould and - unknown, hence my post - early Serkin.

Egidius
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#58
I have organised an exhibition on Rudolf Serkin, Adolf Busch and Max Reger this summer as part of my festival www.klangraum-riehen.net during which we staged several performances of Serkin's 1928 Goldberg "recording" for Welte-Mignon on a fabulous Welte-Steinway of 1911. This early rendering of legendary Serkin repertoire shows, where Gould's early interpretation comes from: Inspired by the reinvention of baroque musique interpretation by giants like Wanda Landowska and Adolf Busch. The later Gould recording in fact shows a lot of respect to Rosalyn Tuareck with added time and grace as opposed to strictest rhytms as known from early Gould and - unknown, hence my post - early Serkin.

Egidius
Very interesting! in my 'collection' of 14? Goldberg Variations, Gould, Tureck and Pletnev are the top 3. Will give Serkin a listen. Tureck reminds me of Horowitz (and my piano teacher who had performed with him many, many years ago...she was a remarkable woman)...old school, extreme attention to fingering, precision and a style that was formal, disciplined and yet in a romantic way...i guess similar to the way a waltz was originally intended to be danced.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#59
I purchased the High Rez file (almost 34 Gig). I quickly compared the CBS cd version of the Golderg Variations and the Well Tempered Keyboard against the remastered files. This is night and day. The remastered files are much better. A real bargain that I got for just 62 euros. I haven't compared yet against the vinyl as I have a few as well.
Good to know and thanks for the feedback! i will be getting the remastered CD set...so not hi-res, but of course i remain hopeful that the common advice of 'the remastering job is ultimately more important than the ultimate format (redbook, DVD-A, SACD, Blu-Ray, hi-res download)'...is true!
 

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