Bach Glenn Gould Changes?! Same Piece Same Artist BUT 25 years later!

Same Piece / Same Artist – BUT 25 years later!

What an incredible difference 20 plus years can make in the life of a musician! First we hear how Glenn Gould played/interpreted this piece by Bach (Goldberg Variations BWV 988 / Aria) in 1955 or 56; and then again how he played it in 1981.

What happened? There is an almost double – or half – the length of play in the two version. Did he just get older and slow down? (the 1980’s version) … Or –  Did more evidence emerge as to what Bach intended?

Hmmm. Fascinating to compare the versions. I certainly enjoy, and feel Bach’s Spirit more in the later version. What do you think? Leave a comment if you wish.

Enjoy. (*sure you will – afterall it is Bach!)

First Version from the mid 1950’s



Second verions late 1980’s


  • Ben Leet
    April 10, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Bach composed the music for an insomniac. Maybe Gould wanted to put one to sleep in the second version. Gould may be like Sviatislav Richter who discovered that his interpretations lacked a certain bel canto appeal, ‘sweet song.’ Both had to learn to tone down the pyrotechnics. I grew to dislike Gould because of his quickness, and lack of emotional depth. I think later he started to understand Bach better, though many listeners still like the early and quick versions. He’s a great pianist, and I think the later Gould is best. Like Margo Argavich, he played much too quick. I recommend Andras Shiff, who I regard as the Zen master of Bach performers. From Mr. Opinionated.