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2021 Listening Project - Jan 3

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J.S. Bach
Goldberg Variations
Glenn Gould, piano
1955

I've always enjoyed this, but listening more carefully this time I have two criticisms. First, the sound (even through my cheap earbuds) really isn't very good. Second, and more importantly, I don't understand why Gould takes everything so *fast* (except for variation 25 in the middle, which seems to just crawl along at time). It makes the variations run together, and makes them hard for me to distinguish.

I also have Gould's 1981 recording, so I'll listen to that soon to compare. And I'd really like to get additional recordings of this, because I know that Gould's approach to Bach is somewhat controversial.

Charles Ives
Central Park in the Dark
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

Not the kind of thing I'd want to listen to every day, but I like it - listened to it a couple times to try to better hear what is going on. I like the "programmatic" nature of it.

Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question (original and "revised" versions)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

I really like this a lot. The trumpet and answering winds over that beautiful string line. It's hard to choose between the two versions. On the "original" version, the strings are a bit fainter, and the music seems to develop just slightly slower. I found myself straining and eager to hear the transition to the next cord. But the revised trumpet call in the second (where the trumpet does not return to the original note, but "stops short" somehow makes more sense in this piece.
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