During the same period, a 23-year-old Canadian named Glenn Gould emerged from obscurity with austere, sparkling interpretations of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. These recordings shook the music world. “There is no piece whose history is so divided into ‘before’ and ‘after’ by one performer,” observes Elie. To hear the “before” is “like seeing a photograph of your spouse from just before the two of you met. You know each other well, but not yet.”
It si heresy, I know, but I confess that I have never particularly liked Gould's Bach. It has always struck me as mechanical and lifeless. His Brahms, on the other hand, is as good as it gets. It is as if he inhabits not just the music, but the psyche of the composer.