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Re: GG-Concert Dropout Lp

On Wed, 3 Apr 1996 Bulother@aol.com wrote:

> I recently picked up an Lp (vinyl) of "Glenn Gould: Concert Dropout In
> Conversation With John McClure"  (Columbia BS 15) and I haven't noticed this
> issued on cd.  I was wondering if there were any more recordings like this
> issued (the interview starts and ends abruptly) since this one is very
> interesting and I'd like to be able to hear more.

What a coincidence!  I found one last week in a used-LP shop, and just got
around to listening to it last night.  I wish I could share your
enthusiasm, John, but I can't. 

Have you noticed how many blatant splices there are in it, sometimes even
in the middle of Gould's sentences and paragraphs?  Have you noticed that
the flow of the interview seems quite a bit quicker than one might expect
in an interview that would be off the cuff?  Everything discussed is
Gould's agenda, not McClure's.  And McClure's reactions of course don't
sound as if he's hearing any of Gould's iconoclastic pronouncements as
surprising, either. 

In short, the "interview" on the record annoyed me.  There's nothing in
there that Gould hasn't said better in writing.  Indeed, much or all of it
(both Gould's words, and McClure's) was probably scripted in great detail
anyway, supposedly to sound spontaneous.  But as one who's read almost all
the Gould literature (by him and by others), I got the impression that
this "Concert Dropout" LP was very, very contrived (and it makes Gould
sound neurotic, too).  And I got weary quickly of the way Gould delivered
his remarks: that calculated-sounding tone that makes it clear who's
running the "interview."  He was too ready with his answers for this to be
convincing as a real interview.  (Same with the later "interview" with Tim
Page, about the remake of the Goldberg Variations, on a _Piano Quarterly_

The whole thing seems calculated as a surface synopsis of some of Gould's
writings, boiled down for presentation to an eager public that doesn't
know him better (25+ years ago, after all, late 60's).  A
marketing/publicity tool, and to a specifically United States audience,
not Canadian.  Perhaps I might be more charitable if I'd heard this record
before reading all the books. 

One funny detail in there: Gould talks offhand about being up north on a
day that was 81 degrees, and McClure asks "Below zero?" and Gould says,
"No, above" and goes right on.  I'm not completely clear on when Canada
went officially metric, but it seems to me that if Gould were speaking and
thinking in the moment, he would have said the temperature in Celsius, or
at least given both. 

Bradley Lehman, bpl@umich.edu       http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/