Let's try and reconstruct how I came to buy this. It was reputation, rather than hearing it, I'm pretty sure. It began with the book Gödel, Escher, Bach, which was very popular with the maths geeks in the Sixth Form at school. I tried to read it then, but didn't get very far. I tried again later in the eighties — possibly around the time I bought this CD — and got further, but still nowhere near the end.
Despite my inability to get through the substance of the book, I liked its ideas. Specifically those of recursion in different fields, patterns that seem to bend in on themselves in infinite loops, or keep getting more and more "meta" until they paradoxially end up back where they started. Here's the one example I remember:
I certainly had one or two Escher prints on my walls at the time, and I fancied getting some Bach, to see if it would sink in. But, lacking Wikipedia and YouTube, I had to rely on unreliable recollections — such as our chemistry teacher, Dr Marsden, saying that the Brandenburg Concertos were highly mathematical in their composition. It's possible that he actually said the Goldberg Variations, or — perhaps more likely, because I often suspected he was just blagging — that he said Brandenburg but meant Goldberg.
Or it's possible I could have bought the CD through a quite different series of associations.
MusicBrainz entry for this album
Wikipedia entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Listen to an album with some of these performances at Spotify