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GG: Quiet in the Land

Bradley and Mary Jo want to hear more about QitL, so here goes.

I lived in a rural area of Manitoba from 1935 to 1945 during my most 
impressionable years (age 7 to 17), near Steinbach which was mostly a 
Mennonite town and I assume still is.  Among my classmates in high school 
(Steinbach Collegiate Institute)were two older brothers of Roy Vogt who 
was one of Gould's interviewees for QitL and whose voice is one of those 
featured in the piece.  My parents and the the Vogts got together 
regularly at each other's houses for dinner because they generally shared 
the same cultural interests.  In addition to German as a common language, 
my father and Mr. Vogt also shared Russian.  My recollections of those 
times are all very happy ones.

My father was a Lutheran pastor in a poor rural German-speaking parish.  
In the village of Steinbach itself there was no Lutheran church, but 
there were 7 Mennonite churches (of 7 different denominations), serving a 
total village population of 1400.  The religious views, beliefs and 
life-styles ranged from liberal to very conservative.  But, even though I 
was very much aware of these views, because they were certainly expressed 
by the high school students, I always felt completely at ease with all of 
them, except the occasional ultra conservative who took himself/herself 
too seriously, as people will sometimes do.

I believe that for Gould this was a goldmine for his contrapuntal agenda. 
The significance of QitL for me lies not so much in the content per se as 
in the form -- the fact that it represents so many points of view, ideal 
fodder for contrapuntal display.  If you could weave together the 7 
viewpoints of Steinbach, for example, you could produce a seven-part 
invention to end all inventions.

Gould probably shared the views of the more conservative Mennonites and 
that no doubt influenced his choice of thematic material, but ultimately 
it's the music, not the religion or philosophy that I hear in QitL. The 
one thing Gould does put across is the complete harmony of very disparate 
ideas,  which is what I felt when I lived in that environment and which 
is what makes QitL a successful piece of music to my ears.

If you have not read Gould's letter to Roy Vogt on this subject, you'll 
find that it adds a lot to the discussion.  (See Glenn Gould, Selected 
Letters, pages 149-50).