"I believe wholeheartedly that, for the uninitiated, this disc is difficult to truly appreciate without having heard other pianists attempt these pieces (e.g., Pollini). To enjoy listening to Schoenberg necessitates a certain familiarity with prolonged "dissonance", just like strong coffee or unfiltered beer--it takes some getting used to. If you're already there, it's not "dissonant", it's "music" (just like other alternate melodic conceptions-raga, gamelan, mbira, partch, etc.), and Gould's passionate readings here display his love for and understanding of the music's heart. Go Glenn."
A Master Pianist Plays His Favorites
Sébastien Melmoth | 04/08/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Schoenberg's rigid mathematics, his triads, his serialism, his tonal abilities, when demonstated through his piano pieces (especially through these piano pieces) allow a pianist with the mechanical ability and inspired play of Glenn Gould the chance to demonstrate how to hear, feel and convey a music that, to many listeners, often reflects, upon fist listen, chaos. But the music on this 2 CD set is not to be listened to merely once. Glenn Gould, master pianist, is playing his favorite works by one of his favorite composers. The Schoenberg basher will hear more chaos than in other recordings of these piano pieces, merely because Gould's sure fingers, his hands, are as revolutionary as the music he is playing."
Mr. Gould: the Genius of Recorded Music!
Sébastien Melmoth | Hôtel d'Alsace, PARIS | 01/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Gould was playing Schoenberg in the 1950s--just shortly after the composer's death. He realizes the Op. 11 pieces in a very late-Brahmsian manner, in keeping with his gestalt of turn-of-the-century Modern music, viz., Brahms, Strauss, Scriabin, Schoenberg, Hindemith, et al.
The Op. 25 Suite is an exquisite refraction of a Bach French Suite--but done in Schoenberg's 12-tone form. Here Gould plays Schoenberg as he does Bach!
Gould's realization of Schoenberg's Piano Concerto is very secco (dry), and intentionally miked very closely: i.e., the recording was made with microphones placed close to the performers, rather than way back out in the audience area of a hall. This was Gould's idea, and the results are outstanding: the best Schoenberg Piano Concerto available--pace, Uchida and Brendel, et al.
Gould's Pierrot is his first attempt at conducting, and one wishes he had completed it and done more. In the end, Gould conducted Wagner's Siegfried Idyll with outstanding results.
This is a great set."
The definitive interpretation of Schoenberg piano works
Ken Iisaka | Mill Valley, CA | 12/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While other pianists dabbled at these fine pieces, none other than Glenn Gould provides the definitive interpretation of Schoenberg's piano works. Thoroughly studied, Gould presents the serialism clearly and presents the dimensions of the revolutionary works.By detaching yourself from the tonality of traditional tonal music, and immersing in the world of Schoenberg, the shape and lines of the music will gradually become clear. Gould is perhaps the greatest advocate and messenger of Schoenberg's distinct language."
Pollini is very much better, but as ever it's very interesti
Uncle Freak | 09/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As ever Gould doesn't follow the score... the clear and accurate indications of tempi, of agoge and dynamics, the sudden changes from pianissimo to fortissimo and vice-versa (there are here few fortissimos instead, and more in the bass range), the sudden rhythmic changes. The pace in general is too slow, the entire work lacks energy, strength, complexity, velocity, vivacity... precision. It's a rendition deep and dark as one can think expressionism should be. But however has an intensity unbelievable. It's a great experience. A great experience itself and in comparison with the Schoenberg work as it should be. It's an other beautiful work completely different. (Maybe I exaggerated, but the substance is that). The recording is beautiful (beautiful piano sound). This review refers to the Schoenberg piano work, in the first cd.
P.S. Even though the Pollini pianissimo (as many people know) are just a little too much pianissimo..."