Gould plays Schumann!
I listened to this recording again today; it was made in 1968, so that’s more than 40 years ago!
On occasion, a recording is of historical significance, and it is appropriate to talk about it again. Glenn Gould was mainly a Bach specialist and a genius at interpreting Bach’s keyboard compositions. Gould had very strong negative opinions about many other composers; yet he also placed high value on the music of such pioneers as Arnold Schoenberg and Hindemith.
It appears that someone convinced Gould to join members of the Julliard String Quartet to record this Schumann Quartet for piano and strings. The result led to a well-known disaster, and the Julliard never recoded with Gould again.
Despite this historical friction, Gould and the Juilliard Quartet made amazing music together. Their Schumann Quartet is dramatic, boisterous, yet also in places lyrical, with a gentle tone from both the strings and piano. Some of this music was played quite fast, and Gould’s precise pianistic capabilities give this work great flamboyance and excitement.
In the accompanying Brahms Piano Quintet, the tempo is again quite fast in several places, and the entire performance is not at all as successful as the Schumann.
Let’s return, however, to Bach which always was Gould’s great love. Here’s an extract from one of the Bach Keyboard concerti: