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Re: Beethoven

>I agree with you, Phil. I am devoted to Gould for many things, but his
>Beethoven, though different and curiously thought provoking (they bring out
>the landscapes like a satellite photo does) do not speak to what I would
>call "the emotional heart" of those works. There are exceptions, of course.
>I find his interpretations of the Bagatelles (op. 33 and 126) quite
>touching and in tune with the music. I also like his Appassionata. Not much
>else stands out. I think Richard Goode is much better, and my favorite for
>powerful and interest of interpretation is JOHN OGDON!!! (Check him out,
>please!) Pollini is a bit to controlled (a la Gould); Schnabel is still the
>granddaddy, IMHO.
>Dave Hildebrand

        It is very curious that you like Glenn's interpretation of the
Appassionata.  In Tim Page's book, he writes an essay regarding the
Appassionata, Moonlight and Pathetique sonatas...basically how he doesn't
like them.  In the interest of time, I will only quote some of what was in
the liner notes to my CD of the Appasionata.

        "The so-called Appassionata Sonata...is usually ranked with the
most popular of Beethoven's keyboard works.  But I must confess the reasons
for it's popularity elude me...The Appasionata...is a study in thematic
tenacity.  His conceit at this period was to create mammoth structures from
material that in lesser hands would scarcely affored a good sixteen-bar
intro.  The themes as such are usually of mininal interest but often of
such primal urgency that one wonders why it took a Beethoven to think them
up....The elaboration of these motives...are determined, combative and
resistant to concession...No one had ever before composed with so
belligerent an attitude...When it works - when Beethoven's furious
onslaughts find their mark - one feels that music's rhetorical demands have
been transcended by an affirmation at once personal and universal...and I
think that in the Appassionata Sonata his method does not work...[placing
it] somewhere between the King Stephen Overture and the Wellington's
Victory Symphony."

        Now I don't agree with Glenn at all on the Appassionata, but it is
obvious from this that Glenn really hated this piece - and I really feel
that it reflects in his almost apathetic performance of it.  And on top of
which your other favourite recordings of Beethoven are so different from
that of Glenn's I am curious what in the Appassionata you like, because
each recording (except the Polinni with which I am unfamiliar) is
completely different.

Captain Nemo

Haverford College
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Haverford, PA 19041

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        I go out into the hall to knock in a nail.  On my way there, I
decide I would rather go out.  I obey the impulse, get into a train, come
to a railway station, go on travelling and finally end up - in America!
That is modulation!
                                         Anton Webern, from "Towards New Music"

"The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of
adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of
a state of wonder serenity."
                                        Glenn Gould