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Re: GG: What Do Non-Fans Think?

At 23:59 13/7/1996 -0400, AMRourk@aol.com wrote:
>Hi, everyone...
>Carl Tait has been reposting the "greatest hits" of the Usenet newsgroup
>re.music.classical...   some of the posts have been about Glenn Gould, and I
>thought I would send them along to the list, for those who aren't able (or
>willing  :->  ) to read the newsgroup.  It's always interesting to get a look
>at other ideas about GG...  even if they aren't ones that I personally agree
>with!!   Most of what this writer details as his dislikes about Gould are
>things which I consider to have been among his strengths ( and I love the
>"Siegfried Idyll", both in his orchestral and piano-transcription

The odd thing (for me) is that (with the Schoenberg piano set) the Wagner
transcriptions/"Siegfried Idyll" disc is my favorite GG recording... & i
agree pretty much with every criticism my initials-sake makes of them. A
pair of alien lifeforms probably wouldn't have as much trouble understanding
each other as Wagner & Gould clearly did - but _because_ GG rewriting of
Wagner is, simultaneously, as fascinatingly thought out as it is
conceptually ill-conceived (& probably because GG was one of the most
relentlessly intellectualising but still strangely instinctive artists since
- well, Wagner), their failure to communicate is (to me, at least) a lot
more interesting than most people's successes....

All the best,

Robert Clements


>Well, leaving aside the question of the value of recording a piano
>transcription of the _Siegfried Idyll_, I must say that, even given
>that a speeding car is not the best environment for careful listening
>:-), I don't recommend that you rush out and buy this. Much of the
>"transcription" was barely recognizable; I couldn't tell whether it
>was because it was a strange transcription (which it was) or whether
>this was largely an effect of how it was played.
>I've probably said before that I have mixed feelings about Gould: I
>love some of his recordings, hate others, and find others interesting,
>sometimes annoying, sometimes revealing. But this particular
>performance contained everything that annoys me about Gould's playing:
>the counterpoint brought out to a degree that completely masks the
>principal melodic line; the inappropriate staccato; the
>let's-see-if-we-can-make-this-last-forever tempos; the curious idea,
>shared by no other musician that I know of, that trills in a slow
>tempo should sound like they were notated in 16th-notes; and a general
>sense that what one is supposed to be hearing is Gould, and that the
>actual piece of music is secondary. The details were emphasized to
>such a degree that there was no sense of line or structure. And he
>managed to make it last half an hour.