Glenn Gould and the Quest for Perfection

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For many, Glenn Gould was the 20th century’s greatest interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The very first recording he ever made, at the age of 22, was the challenging “Goldberg Variations.”

It was a passionate, sensual, provocative performance, and the start of a long and controversial career. “The purpose of art,” Glenn Gould said, “is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline, but rather the gradual lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” In 1981, he recorded the Goldberg Variations once again, still passionate and provocative, but this time also reflective and serene.

The recording was released just a few days before his death, at the age of 50. Glenn Gould, the legacy of a virtuoso, and an intellectual.


Tim Page, music critic, Washington Post. Editor of “the Glenn Gould Reader” and author of “Tim Page on Music: Views and Reviews”.