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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Glenn Gould - Bach/ "The Art of the Fugue, Volume 1 (First Half)" Vinyl, LP, Remastered 2015 (Vinyl Passion Classical)


Originally recorded in 1962, this album by Glenn Gould performing and recording Bach's "The Art of the Fugue" on the organ is a sound that pretty much have been in my life for the past 50 or so years.  My parents used to play this album at a very high volume.  As far as I know this is the only recording with Gould playing the organ.    These compositional pieces of music were Bach's exploration in monothematic instrumental works.  Never written for any particular instrument, it is many ways Bach's thinking out a problem from a notebook.  Gould I suspect was a musician who tackled music as an ongoing concern than a finished work of art.  The process or the journey is very much of great importance to Gould, and it is intelligence as well as his skills on the keyboard that makes him such a fantastic artist. 

The description above sounds cold, but the truth is, I often hum this melody in the bathtub.  The ultimate riff builds on other riffs.   It's like building a sand castle, and there is a wave coming in any second to tear down your structure.  Trying to find the original mono Columbia Masterworks version is tough for me.   I want one because that was the version that we had as a child, and I'm trying to recapture my childhood through the medium of vinyl.  To recapture the past is a foolish activity because the memory is always the winner.  Even over physical objects such as a vinyl from one's past.  A European label, Vinyl Passion Classical, put this out in 2015 on vinyl.   Not sure if it's a high-end bootleg label or an official release.   The sound is great.  And there is something magnificent about this music on vinyl.   Gould has done so many superb recordings, but due to emotional reasons, this is my favorite Glenn Gould album.