In moments like these, classical music reveals that there is nothing else on the planet fairly prefer it. The villain’s demise, depicted in jagged, fractured bursts, results in a passage of shimmering, shifting chords. A consoling melody, first performed by a horn, signals the lifting of the magical spell, then builds and builds to a blazing, brassy, rhythmically charged conclusion. “Consort of Musicke by William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons” is Glenn Gould’s greatest document. These early English harpsichord items had no history of piano efficiency till Gould’s charismatic advocacy.
Although not initially intended to be played as a set, Gibbons’s Fantasy in C and Allemande (Italian Ground) have been clearly paired by him as antecedent and consequent. The solemn counterpoint in the Fantasy is superb, and Gould marches so hard within the Italian Ground that he’s virtually swinging. The first notes of “Lavender Rain” kind a simple scale, however one … Read More