Music for Ariel – A strayed recording, by Gould and Bernstein, of Bach WV 1052

[Posted in part on G+ by Ariel herself on 9th November 2015]

“Here is an immaculate and glorious interpretation of the Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 (sadly, only the first movement is available in video as far as I know). The sound is not good, and the image, quite bad (dating from the very early 60s), but this is the best performance of this work I’ve ever heard; better than Gould’s own previous ones with V. Slovak (1957) and T. Mayer (1957).

Glenn Gould plays, as usual, in spiritual communion with Bach, and Bernstein is at his best with the orchestra, and this obviously helps.

Notice the electricity in Gould’s fingers on the keyboard (more than causing the sounds by percussion, it seems like he’s extracting or sucking them through some spell 🙂
And notice the beauty of his hands (and of his entire person!)… I do believe than Gould was an angel –just like Bach himself.

There is so much beauty in this recording! I’m completely in love with it.”

Now, after Ariel’s passing I have found the source of the recording, and also a better quality video footage. So the video copy here is not the same one that Ariel posted -this one sounds quite better.

It originally aired in 1960 on CBS Television as part of its ‘Ford Presents’ series. The entire film in high quality (of which this clip is a small part) was painstakingly hunted down by Youtuber “erp65”. It can be found there, in YT, and I urge you, I really do urge you, to see it in its entirety. It’s worth the time!)

 OK… For the impatient, Gould’s performance begins at 5:08 , but I strongly encourage you to watch Leonard Bernstein’s excellent introduction from the very beginning.

Here you are. It’s 1959, and Glenn Gould is 27 years old.

Enjoy his MARVEL of a performance -and I’m not overstating!:



New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Piano: Glenn Gould

As Ariel read later, Bernstein freaked out with GG on this performance (later calling him a genius…; and Bernstein did not call anybody alive a genius -aside of himself, most probably).

Again for Ariel’s sake: it seems clear from the introduction by Bernstein that this recording includes only the initial Allegro of Bach’s 1052. But there exists another performance by Gould with Bernstein, for the whole concerto, with very minute differences; but, alas!, also difficult to find. If I have been told correctly, the only difference between both interpretations are the two last chords, which on the video I’ve posted are a bit more emphasized; otherwise, it would be hard to tell the difference.


Glenn Herbert Gould

2 thoughts on “Music for Ariel – A strayed recording, by Gould and Bernstein, of Bach WV 1052

  1. To become one with this type of work, either as a fellow composer or just a fan, says so much about the love one has for music in general. To be able to relate and to develop such a kinship with such pieces……truly amazing….

    Liked by 1 person

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