The Author's Opinion on Glenn Gould's WTC II

Version 1.0 of 16/3/2009-1:00 a.m.


Ratings:
Excellent: ****
Good: ***
Bad: **
Disaster: *
  1. Prelude Fugue
  2. ***     ***
  3. ***     *
  4. *       *
  5. ***     ****
  6. **      ***
  7. ***     **
  8. **      ****
  9. ***     **
  10. ****    *
  11. ****    ****
  12. ****    ****
  13. **      ***
  14. ****    ****
  15. ***     *
  16. ****    ****
  17. **      ****
  18. ****    ****
  19. **      ***
  20. ***     ****
  21. ***     ***
  22. **      ***
  23. **      ****
  24. ****    ****
  25. ***     ****

Averages:
---------
Preludes: 2.9166666667/4 = ***
Fugues: 3.0833333333/4 = ***
Total: 3/4 = ***

Comments:

  1. Both slow, Fugue ending boring. It's a shame this pair is on the Voyager Record. See below.
  2. Prelude ok, good timing. Fugue, disaster. What's with the Staccato?. "Piano" Ending??
  3. Prelude a disaster. Ghost voices on left? Intro to Allegro scares the listener! Fugue slow and boring. What's with the pianissimo on the theme?
  4. Prelude good. Voices come out, approaches "semplice" and "espressivo". Fugue very good although VERY loud. What's with the Staccato on the dotted eighths? Unneeded loud accents? Gets a 4 because it's one of the hardest fugues, otherwise would get a 3.
  5. Sudden "piano" on the second bar of the theme in Prelude?? Repeat, first bar "piano"? Fugue polyphony ok, but what's with the Staccato on notes 4/5/6/7 of the theme?? Gets a 3 because it's a hard fugue, otherwise it would be a 2.
  6. Prelude good, although it shows incomplete mastery of timing (on this one). Fugue almost a disaster. The dreaded Staccato on the theme eighths, again. Starts "piano"?? Ends with "ritardando" and "piano"? The ending of this fugue should be like fireworks.
  7. Prelude is supposed to be "Pastorale". This is a speeding race. Ending good though. Fugue excellent.
  8. Prelude ok, but repeat to first part is scary fff. Fugue too fast. This is one of the most profound and grave fugues of both books. The dreaded "Staccato" again on the theme on bar 15 and towards the end, coupled with "piano" themes. Awful. Ending "piano"???
  9. Prelude excellent, except for last bar where he does funny things with the trill. Fugue a complete disaster. He is totally missing the point here. This is a "solene"/"mystico" fugue not a "giocosso" one!! TOO LOUD!! TOO FAST!! The dreaded "Staccato" again.
  10. Prelude excellent. Does nice things with those trills, both short and long, although use of "Staccato" may be slightly dubious. Fugue excellent too. This is perhaps the first excellent pair of book II, although, again, the "ritardanto" at the end of the fugue may be a bit dubious and exaggerated.
  11. Prelude polyphony very good (although the dreaded "Staccato" emerges again). Got the spirit on this one. Fugue excellent too. Has spirit of gigue. Does nice stuff near the end.
  12. Prelude TOO FAST!! The amazing "Staccato" again on a highly emotional piece. Fugue ok. Could be better, with ff/pp.
  13. Prelude excellent. At last, no dreaded "Staccato"!! Does nice things with sixteenth/dotted eighth pairs! Excellent timing. Fugue excellent too. Probably one of his best. Does nice things with trills and phrases, themes stand out, counter-subjects really nice. The second excellent pair in book II.
  14. Extra trills on prelude all over the place? Would be nice if he had some f's somewhere. Otherwise ok. Fugue disaster. This is one of the most complex fugues and he makes it a speeding race. TOO FAST!! The incredible "Staccato" strikes again, this time on the second fugue theme. Second and third theme entries horrible. He is missing the point here.
  15. Prelude excellent and with excellent timing. Fugue one of his best. He's got it here. Perhaps the third excellent pair of book II.
  16. Almost a disaster. This is supposed to be an atomic bomb with huge momentum, not a lullaby. Puts me to sleep. Too slow. Fugue much much better, one of his best in the book. He's worked on this one and it shows.
  17. Prelude very very nice. Dynamics and polyphony get more and more interesting towards the middle and his pedal there is nice without interfering with the polyphony. Excellent timing! One of his best preludes in book II. Fugue, excellent. Perfect timing. Again, towards the middle (bar 40 and up) does very interesting things with polyphony, and pedal. Fantastic ending for once! Another excellent pair.
  18. Prelude destroyed by speed and lack of ff/pp on repeated sections. He picks up speed racing again. If it wasn't so fast, would be almost ok. Fugue: The "Staccato" Dragon raises his ugly head on the theme. Rest sounds ok. Voices come out nicely. Second theme entrance "piano"? It's supposed to be a second THEME not accompaniment! Good use of pedal towards the middle. Nice ending section. Last theme calls very very nice!
  19. Prelude "Giocosso"(sp?)? Gets better towards the end, though. Fugue excellent! Correct momentum! Correct speed! Correct dynamics and beautiful ending with powerful last theme entry! One of his best.
  20. Prelude left and right hand sometimes too loud. Otherwise almost ok. Fugue theme should come out MORE. Gets mixed with the rest and is not audible. Gets a 3 because of correct timing and because it's one of the hardest fugues. Otherwise a 2. "Piano" instead of "fortissimo" in the last bar? Amazing.
  21. What's with the occasional dotted quarter noise? Is it a wake up call? Fugue is good except for some occasional "Staccato"s, which silently creep in at places.
  22. He picks up the speeding race again, on perhaps this most important prelude of book II. What's with the noise? Bar 24 left hand: Wake up call? Fugue excellent. If this fugue was bad, the entire CD would lose half its price. One of the hardest fugues, if not the hardest fugue of book II and G has done his homework on this one.
  23. The most perfect pair of his book II. Entire CD would be worth if only for these two. No comments here. G is a "Master of Time" on this fugue. This pair should have been on Voyager.
  24. Prelude too fast. Otherwise ok. Fugue would be excellent if it wasn't too noisy and loud.

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