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Classical Music

Variations


A State of Wonder: The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981

A State of Wonder: The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981 Lowest new price: $10.77
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Glenn Gould's recording debut in 1955 of Bach's Goldberg Variations took the world by storm. His decidedly un-Romantic view, absolute technical skill, startling lucidity, and right-on rhythmic changes, combined with his eccentricities--audible humming, sometimes outrageously fast tempi--made him an instantly legendary pianist and elucidated Bach's music in a whole new way. Gould's final recording, 26 years later, was also of the Goldbergs. It's a more relaxed, sometimes much slower, more inward reading (although still very much his own, complete with oddly ferocious attacks and accents), in which he offers repeats of the first half of 15 of the Variations. Both performances are glorious, each in its own way, and this luxurious new set of three CDs is entertaining, a joy to hear, and revelatory; it belongs in any music lover's collection. The third CD is devoted to outtakes and chatter from recording sessions. At one point, Gould improvises "God Save the King" and exhibits how it turns into "The Star-Spangled Banner." And a long interview with critic Tim Page offers great insight into Gould's weird humor and unique outlook. A must-have collection. --Robert Levine

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  • Glenn Gould - Glenn Gould: A State Of Wonder: The Com

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Baby Mozart

Baby Mozart Lowest new price: $4.50
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Brand: Disney

Of all the reasons you'll click the Add to Shopping Cart button next to Baby Einstein's Baby Mozart--and there are many--the best one is that playing this record for babies doesn't feel weird. Instead of subjecting tiny, tender ears to the kind of Mozart that can make adult classical fans wilt when tackled by a maestro who means business, this is Mozart lite, mixed and mastered by a dad, Bill Weisbach, who's clearly hung around for his share of crib-side cooing. The slightly tinny sound of a child's piano sweeps the sting out of Piano Sonata in B Flat's third movement; the first movement of Concerto for Flute and Harp in C floats by, birdlike; variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" translate to a fancy-sounding (but adorable) "Twinkle, Twinkle"; and Piano Sonata in F's third movement snuggles so deeply into its childlike setting that if you close your eyes, you'll see a pastel parade of animals floating by overhead. Other pieces (more aptly called fragments, since only one track stretches beyond the three-minute mark), like Symphony No. 41's fourth movement, wander into more robust Mozart territory, but it's here the claims about classical music enhancing young kids' abstract reasoning skills and spatial intelligence crystallize. Babies strapped in for a roller coaster of sounds that gracefully dips, swerves, and high-jumps like this version, do have to process what they're hearing somehow (and a case could be made that the instruments Weisbach's chosen--the vibraphone, glockenspiel, and music box among them--make it more appealing for them to do so). Followers of Julie Aigner-Clark's Baby Einstein empire, many of whom opted out of the fan club once Disney bought the company in 2001, won't trip over a single Mickey Mouse-ified sound here. This is pure, plugged in, and muted Mozart, and if it doesn't make your baby smarter, it'll at least sound awfully sweet issuing from your nursery's speakers. --Tammy La Gorce

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  • Baby Mozart

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Goldberg Variations

Goldberg Variations Lowest new price: $6.98
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This title is an Audio CD.

The clear-cut rhythms, riveting articulation, and contrapuntal acumen of Glenn Gould's 1955 debut Goldberg Variations characterize this 1981 remake to strikingly different results. This later version is more deliberate in pacing, stark in expression, thoughtful with ornamentation, and tightly organized (if a mite theatrical) in terms of tempo relationships. Whereas there are no repeats from 1955, Gould now observes "A" section repeats in the canons, the Fughetta, and other fugue-like variations. The rapid, cross- handed sequences still dazzle with pinpointed fingerwork, yet the slower tempos better serve the music's dance-like qualities. Unlike Sony Classical's better sounding Glenn Gould Edition transfer, the original CBS Masterworks CD still has no banding cues. --Jed Distler

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Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (The Historic 1955 Debut Recording)

Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (The Historic 1955 Debut Recording) Lowest new price: $4.75
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In the main, sonic differences between Sony Classical's 20-bit remastering of this landmark 1955 recording and its previous incarnation in the CBS Great Performances series (CBS MYK 38479) are subtle rather than striking. Tape hiss is reduced, while ambient studio noise is heightened, bringing Glenn Gould's trademark humming and squeaky chair more into the foreground. One can also perceive slight changes in microphone setups between certain variations. Gould completists, however, will want this Glenn Gould Edition transfer for two fugues recorded in 1957, drastically different from the pianist's perverse remakes 13 years later for his complete Well Tempered Clavier Book II. Any respectable piano collection, however, should include Gould's debut Goldbergs, at any price. --Jed Distler

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bach: Goldberg Variations Lowest new price: $7.01
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Listen to the music first! Perahia's booklet essay is a dry musicological treatise concerned with technical aspects of Bach's music. His performance, on the other hand, is filled with life and excitement. The kind of overt virtuosity heard in some of these variations has been a rarity in Perahia's recordings, but it shows how wide a range he intends to cover in his playing of this masterpiece. Unlike Glenn Gould, who is most listeners' touchstone for piano performances of the Goldbergs, Perahia takes Bach's necessary repeats and uses them as occasions for adventure, varying not only the emphases, but also the actual notes. This kind of embellishment in repeats was expected in Bach's time, but it's rare in ours. Also, taking the repeats doubles the length of the piece, making it a larger and more affecting experience--as long as the performer manages to keep those repeats alive, which Perahia certainly does. His playing of the famous 25th variation is deeply affecting without the faintest trace of sentimentality. The way he varies Bach's moods from moment to moment is extremely effective. This is, in short, one of the great recordings of Bach's "Goldberg" Variations. With Vladimir Feltsman's similarly revelatory performance currently out of the catalogs, Perahia's is probably the best piano version available. It's also one of his best recordings. --Leslie Gerber

Features:

  • Brand Name: SONY BMG MUSIC Mfg#: 696998924321
  • Shipping Weight: 1.00 lbs
  • Manufacturer: COLUMBIA RECORDS/SONY
  • Genre: Classical Music
  • All music products are properly licensed and guaranteed authentic.

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Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bach: Goldberg Variations Lowest new price: $9.64
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Brand: Bach

Dinnerstein's Goldberg Variations was recorded in the neoclassic auditorium of the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York in March 2005. The piano she plays, a 1903 Hamburg Steinway model D concert grand, was originally owned by the town council of Hull,

This is destined to be one of the best-remembered and significant classical releases of 2007. Simone (pronounced "See-mo-nuh") Dinnerstein has recently been attracting lots of media attention, from Oprah’s magazine to The New York Times. Within a classical-music circuit increasingly unwilling to take artistic risks, hers has been the rare success story. The 30-something pianist (a former student of Peter Serkin), backing herself, wowed critics with some notable concerts and eventually secured the support of a major label to release a self-produced recording Dinnerstein had made in March 2005. This Telarc account of the Goldberg Variations thus marks her solo debut CD (following some earlier collaborations with cellist Zuill Bailey on the Delos label). For once, the publicity is trying to keep up with the musical achievement--rather than the other way around.

Dinnerstein's seriousness of purpose is immediately obvious from her choice of the Bach masterpiece to make her mark. With the specter of Glenn Gould's own epoch-making 1955 debut playing the same work—not to mention a vast catalog of competing interpretations—Dinnerstein is nothing if not bold. But what's really extraordinary here is the liberating sense she conveys of its not having all been said before—without resorting to tiresome idiosyncrasies to stand apart from the crowd. Her remarkably deliberate way with the opening aria is unusual, to be sure. But it establishes the stakes for what will follow, where Dinnerstein's thoughtfulness and spectacular clarity seem to discover new facets at every turn. Her pianism embraces a prismatic array of touches, whether the feathery lightness of Variation 5, the burbling rhythms of Variation 14, or the tragic weight of the "black pearl" Variation 25. The cumulative effect is exhilarating, intensely moving, and an affirmation of the Goldbergs' infinite variety. --Thomas May

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Bach: Great Organ Favorites with E. Power Biggs

Bach: Great Organ Favorites with E. Power Biggs Lowest new price: $4.04
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Bach: Great Organ Favorites with E. Power Biggs by E. Power Biggs

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Cello Cto: Variations - Pomp & Circumstance 1 & 4

Cello Cto: Variations - Pomp & Circumstance 1 & 4 Lowest new price: $4.04
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Elgar: Enigma Variations

Elgar: Enigma Variations Lowest new price: $10.24
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Features:

  • Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Catalog#: 00289 4632652
  • Country Of Release: NLD
  • Year Of Release: 2002
  • Notes: Wiener Phil./John E.Gardiner

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Brahms: Handel Variations, Op. 24 / Rhapsodies, Op. 79 / Piano Pieces, Opp. 118 & 119

Brahms: Handel Variations, Op. 24 / Rhapsodies, Op. 79 / Piano Pieces, Opp. 118 & 119 Lowest new price: $7.84
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