Falling in love again...
While I spend a lot of time on Wagner and Mahler, I have a very big soft spot in my musical heart for Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988, if you keep score). Glenn Gould's second Columbia recording (1981, I think) has been my standard for as long as I have loved the piece. However, I just got a copy of the Sony "Glenn Gould Edition" of his 1959 Salzburg performance of the piece. This might be his best performance of the work. He isn't nearly as wild as he was in 1955, but he isn't as measured and stately as he would become in 1981. However, when he lets loose, there is still rather a lot of fire.
The ORF mono recording is fine, not as fantastic as the recently remastered 1981 disc, but still very good. The Mozarteum is a decent-enough hall. If Gould's vocal stylings put you off, this might be the disc. They are still there, but very distant on my setup. Sony's remastering is pretty solid on this disc, and I don't know what they sacrificed to get the noise levels low, but these sound very good. They are more of an audience perspective (as far as I can tell). There is a bit of a veil, but nothing too bad. Don't use this disc for your demonstration disc, though. Boulez' Bruckner 8 will do for that job.
Buy any of his records of this piece. Buy all of them. I think you'll find that this is the best of all worlds.