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GG's hatred for the Appassionata

>        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.

>        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.


I am listening to Appassionata right now--you are right: Gould seems to
mock it as he plays it.(As he mocks Mozart when he plays him)  But for me
his playing of this piece, though in no sense definitive (a questionable
concept) or convincing, brings out aspects in it that i hadn't noticed. In
short, Gould's playing serves two different functions. Sometimes Gould

1.  educates me about possible choices of interpretation that I am ignorant
about because other players dont do it (for example, the slowness of
Gould's Appassionata really  isolates phrases and passages and allows

2.  brings me unmediated pleasure--not the pleasure of analysis or
"learning a new perspective."

Gould does (1) for me with the Appassionata. He does (2) for me with the
Bagatelles. And with the Brahms ballads, too. And, of course, with so many
other pieces.


David L. Hildebrand
University of Texas at Austin