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Brahms: 10 Intermezzi for Piano (Gould, 1960)


“Brahms: 10 Intermezzi for Piano“ is an album recorded in 1960 by Glenn Gould, a Canadian classical pianist of the 20th century, who is known for his unique interpretation of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

It contains 10 intermezzi selected from the piano pieces composed by Brahms in his later years.


The album was recorded by then-28-year-old Gould in September and November 1960 at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio, New York, and it was released by Columbia Masterworks in 1961.

Produced by Richard Killough.

In this album, Gould selected and played 10 intermezzi from the pieces for solo piano composed by Johannes Brahms, a German composer and pianist of the mid-Romantic period of the19th century, in his later years.

Gould selected two from “Eight Pieces for Piano“, Op. 76 (1878), one from “Fantasies“, Op. 116 (1892), three from “Three Intermezzi for Piano“, Op. 117 (1892), three from “Six Pieces for Piano“, Op. 118 (1893), and one from “Four Pieces for Piano“, Op. 119 (1893).

This is the first album where Gould recorded compositions by Romantic composers.

It is one of the most highly acclaimed albums among the many ones that Gould released, and it is also renowned as a masterpiece among all of the recordings of the piano pieces by Brahms.

In this album, Gould created his own interpretation of intermezzi by Brahms, ignoring the repeat and staccato signs on the scores. Though it is not faithful to the scores, it is an extremely beautiful performance, which are characterized by slow tempos, self-reflective nature like a monologue, subtle romanticism and deep sentiment, and meditative effect.

In the liner notes of “The Glenn Gould Edition“ (Sony Classical), Gould himself describes the recordings as follows:

“It’s the sexiest interpretation of Brahms’s Intermezzi you’ve ever heard.“

“I have captured, I think, an atmosphere of improvisation which I don’t believe has ever been represented in a Brahms recording before.” 

In 2014, Sony Classical reissued this album as a hybrid SACD, including one bonus track (the 1959 recording of Op. 118 No. 2).

Track Listing

  1. Intermezzo In E-Flat Major, Op. 117, No. 1 (05:38)
  2. Intermezzo In B-Flat Minor, Op. 117, No. 2 (05:31)
  3. Intermezzo In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 117, No. 3 (05:24)
  4. Intermezzo In E-Flat Minor, Op. 118, No. 6 (06:03)
  5. Intermezzo In E Major, Op. 116, No. 4 (04:22)
  6. Intermezzo In A Minor, Op. 76, No. 7 (04:01)
  7. Intermezzo In A Major, Op. 76, No. 6 (02:15)
  8. Intermezzo In B Minor, Op. 119, No. 1 (02:26)
  9. Intermezzo In A Minor, Op. 118, No. 1 (01:05)
  10. Intermezzo In A Major, Op. 118, No. 2 (05:50)
Brahms – 10 Intermezzi + Presentation (recording of the Century : Glenn Gould / Remastered)