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Album: Glenn Gould, The Essential Glenn Gould (Sony Classical)

Everything about Glenn Gould, from the way he championed the studio process as a means of editing together "definitive" interpretations, to his dismissive attitude towards untouchables like Mozart, reinforced his maverick status, though it was the way he played as if each precise fingerfall were a question of cardinal importance that made him special.

The first of these two discs focuses on his Bach work, the second on other composers. It's breathtaking, of course, though the contrast between his 1955 and 1981 recordings of the Goldberg Variations is fudged by opening with the Aria and Variations 1-7 from the former, and closing with the Aria da capo from the latter: it could be two different people, and in a way it was.

Download this: 'Goldberg Variations', 'Prelude & Fugue in C Major', 'Ballade in B major'