[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

More on GG's playing of Scriabin Fifth Sonata

This is from PIANO QUARTERLY, Fall '86, from an article entitled _Did 
We Really Hear Him?_ and is yet another example of GG's experimentation with
interpretation and technology as well:

"His interest was in its sonic possibilities. In recording the sonata, 
Gould used different ranks of microphones placed at varying distances 
from the piano to capture the changing sound as the music proceeded 
rapidly from the bass register to the extreme treble. For bass sections, 
he relied upon microphones in the far corner of the room. These were 
turned away from the piano to suggest a nebulous presence. Then, as the 
music accelerated to the treble, Gould shifted to microphones only a few 
inches from the strings for sharp, brilliant sound. (He callled this the 
'Art Tatum pickup.') In seeking this sound, Gould tried to improve and 
extend the presence of the piano. The 'crescendo' from bass to treble is 
impossible to capture fully in a concert hall, but a recording can, with 
modified sound levels and microphone placement, produce the effect so 
clearly indicated in the score. It was a fascinating attempt to show the 
superiority of recording over the live concert."

The question of a comparison between GG's and Horowitz' Scriabin #5 is 
not approachable because of this "tampering," but also because H. would 
make many of his recordings "live" by preference, since he was one of 
those artists who needed the feedback of an audience to be at his best.
Although we are focusing on GG, it is worth mentioning, since one of our 
group asked about the comparison, when H. was recording during a recital, 
he flubbed the opening measure of Chopin's g minor Ballade. When asked 
about this by the recording engineer, his response was to "leave it," 
since that is the way it happened; this, in one of the most egotisical 
pianists of our time.