However, on this particular aria that I linked on an earlier post, he plays very romantically. And when you compare it with Barenboim’s version, it is like these two men switched playing styles - you should put on the sweater when listening to Barenboim’s aria and take it off when listening to Gould’s.
Yes, I watched both the Barenboim and GG video of the aria, and after that almost all GG videos on Youtube. Undoubtly GG was a great artist and kind of reinventor to find the beauty in articulation in polyphonic pieces. And I agree that the aria is played by GG with extraordinary beauty. I like the Barenboim take too, but I prefer the GG version. GG plays it very slow, and very, very soft but nevertheless great voicing. That shows great technique with unbelievable key control. But playing very soft + delicate and playing romantically are still different things to me (anyhow there is no need to play Bach in a romantic manner for me, or to play Chopin in baroque manner ...). I agree, that aria cannot be called cold playing from GG (because it is very soft and not that staccato played), but exeptions prove the rule.
Maybe I have more of a romantic nature, however the longer I do play Bach on organ or piano, the longer I try to long for strictly different interpretations whether it is Bach or Chopin e.g.
For a Bach fugue (many of the preludes are polyphonic pieces too) it is necessary to show the beauty in the different voices in parallel. The "tools" I see in different dynamics combined with strong articulation. The articulation especially but also the melody bows well choosen in connection to the rhythmic metrum of the piece. But in difference to the romantic manner not so in sound revelling, pedaled legato playing, or rubato, or melody bows neglecting the rhythmic structure.
I think the main difference of the high baroque music and romantic music is that the one has polyphonic character, the other homophonic character (there are expections of course, only as a rule of thumb), so the interpretation style should act accordingly.
I wish we could hear how Chopin played Bach.
Yeah, but much more I wish we could hear how Chopin played Chopin, and how Bach played Bach. Or even more, how they improvised in their own style ...