Glenn Gould and the Russians

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Iconic sleeve from the great Henrietta Condak, showing Gould, Scriabin and Prokofiev in silhouette. Certainly not one of my favorite Gould recordings, but an interesting listen nonetheless. The pianist, a real fugaholic, was at his finest when deconstructing the complexities of Bach, and his playing of Scriabin lacks the ponderous occultism of the composer’s work. His Prokofiev is much more alive, highlighting the piece’s jittery wartime uncertainty and uneasy balance between neoclassicism and atonality. Besides the fact that both composers were from Russia, these sonatas could not be more different.

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