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Glenn Gould’s Every Detail. But Why? - The New York Times

Gould grew to be deeply dissatisfied with this first recording, which was, he said in an interview before the 1982 release, “just too fast for comfort.” His second take is generally slower, mellower and more reflective, though his trademark crisp touch and clarity are ever-present. Gould had given up live concertizing at 31, considering recordings a superior way to allow an artist the freedom to present a personal conception of a work. Still, his 1981 recording was not the equivalent of a Glenn Gould “edition” of the “Goldberg” Variations. Many master musicians have prepared performing editions of seminal repertory, like the pianist Artur Schnabel’s edition of the Beethoven sonatas. But Schnabel’s markings in the score are intended as suggestions, not Holy Writ. (He even later referred to the edition as “sins of my youth.”) Gould’s 1981 “Goldberg” is a fiercely individual take on the piece. Had he lived longer and recorded it again, that third take might have been different in other ways. Gould’s mind was too restless to expect otherwise.
Though Ms. Patterson strove for historical accuracy, comparatively modern times still intruded on the fair, sometimes glaringly.“I remember a young girl running up to me a few years ago, almost crying,” Ms. Patterson told The Los Angeles Times in 1987, “saying: ‘You’ve got to do something. Someone’s back there playing Bach.’ ”