Editors’ Notes Thanks to a potent mix of rhythmic precision and blinding-fast tempi—just listen to the liftoff of Variation 5—Glenn Gould burst onto the record industry's radar with his 1955 performance of this Bach masterwork. Appropriately, the pianist also closed his studio career with a more ruminative (yet still exciting) version, in 1981. Gould’s distinct intelligence, palpable in both takes, has inspired generations of Bach interpreters. And though you’ll likely have a preference among them (as well as your own opinions about Gould’s murmurings from the piano bench), you simply can’t have one performance and not the other.

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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording)
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Aria
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 1 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 2 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all' Unisuono
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 4 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 8 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 11 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 12 Canone alla Quarta
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 13 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 14 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 16, Ouverture a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 17 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 18, Canone alla Sesta a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 19 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 20 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 21, Canone alla Settima
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 22, Alla breve a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 23 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 24, Canone all' Ottava a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 25 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 26 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 27, Canone alla Nona
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 28 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1955 Recording): Aria da capo
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording)
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Aria
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 1 a Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 2 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Unisono
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 4 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Al tempo di Giga
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 8 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 11 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 12. Canone alla Quarta
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 13 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 14 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 16 a 1 Clav. Ouverture
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 17 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 18 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Sesta
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 19 a 1 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 20 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 21. Canone alla Settima
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 22 a 1 Clav. Alla breve
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 23 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Ottava
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 25 a 2 Clav. Adagio
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 26 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 27 a 2 Clav. Canone alla Nona
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 28 a 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav.
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Variation 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet
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Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1981 Recording): Aria da capo
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