Going on 40 years after his death, the Canadian rock star of classical music turned phantom of the recording studio, Glenn Gould, occupies an unshakable niche in the pantheon. Of the work that put him there and keeps him there, nothing looms larger than a pair of Bach recordings that Sony Classical reissued back-to-back at the dawn of the 21st century—Glenn Gould: A State of Wonder / The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981.
“I love the Glenn Gould recordings!,” Lang Lang exclaimed on Zoom from Shanghai last week, anticipating the September 4 release of a Goldberg two-pack of his own on Deutsche Grammophon. “Both of them. What I like about the earlier version is that he was fearless. Some passages are so fast! There’s a real passion behind those notes. Later, I would say, he played with much deeper thoughts, really taking time. Huge difference.”