The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (105): Contrapunctus (because he can)

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (105): Contrapunctus (because he can)


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2020

Beyond words.



  • Alexander Tarak says:

    One of my music “heroes”. One of a kind.
    A stunning performance that puts the likes of Schiff or Hewitt in the shade.
    I first saw the Monsaingeon documentaries shortly after they were made.
    I still find them every bit as engrossing all these years later.
    He left us far too soon. RIP

    • jay says:

      Landowska does much better and puts Gould efforts to shame many times over

      • Novagerio says:

        And why should one be better than the other? Why can’t we have different perspectives, especially when dealing with two different instruments and so different and imaginative artists? And how can one even think of comparing Landowska with Gould? Do you know the enormous difference there is between a cembalo and a Steinway, sound – articulation – and tempo-wise?
        Say Rosalyn Tureck, and then we are talking.

        • jay says:

          It is not which is better but what Bach heard,and as far as we know he did not hear
          the Steinway sound.Comparing Landowska to Gould is easy- she is the artist he is the one that talks to cows. Having heard both
          Rosalyn Tureck and Landowska.,Tureck is
          but a poor imitation of Landowska.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      You are so absolutely right, Mr. Tarak!
      Gould, Tureck, and Rosen are the gold standard of Bach on the piano.
      Others may be marvelous as well (certainly NOT Hewitt or Schiff), but Gould, Tureck, and Rosen are THE ONES.

  • E. says:

    My first disk for piano was his Goldberg Variations. It was mesmerizing, and formative.

    A hero. And, he loved dogs.

  • A.L. says:

    Because he gould.

  • Morgan says:

    He inhabits every note.
    Gould’s televised version of Partita no.4 has the edge over the Columbia recording.

  • fflambeau says:

    But why are you listening to this guy in the first place? He’s a known known and therefore according to you elsewhere, not worthy of even knowing.

    This contradicts what you wrote: “First, I reject the known knowns — famous artists recording familiar repertoire, and probably not for the first time. They won’t have much to say that changes the state of my world.”

  • Alphonse says:

    Contrapunctus VII has always been my favorite of the Art of Fugue. Here it is played by the master, on the organ:

  • John Borstlap says:

    Totally WRONG approach to the music. The Art of Fugue was not written to be burdened by the neurotic existential pain of Mr Gould. And the theatricals are just sickening…. could not see this out.

  • Jeffrey H. says:

    I always feel with Gould that it is not that he plays much better over the competition…It astounds me every time how outside of the competition he is every time.

  • MezzoLover says:

    Absolutely fascinating to hear him play Contrapunctus I immediately followed by Contrapunctus IV, which is built on the inversion of the principal subject presented in Contrapunctus I but with its own counter-subjects and inversions in the counterpoint to the inverted principal subject, etc., etc.

    One sounds appropriately solemn (Contrapunctus I) while the other sounds almost skittish (Contrapunctus IV) in his hands.

    And what amazing hands…