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Re: [BACH-LIST] gould
From: JS Bach and other Early and Baroque Music List
Subject: Re: [BACH-LIST] gould
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 09:50:35 -0400
From: Thomas Cirtin <cirtin@ATT.NET>
>If Gould was still alive, I suspect he could give you a musical reason
>for every choice he made, even in his Mozart. You may disagree with his
>reasons -- almost certainly would -- but that's a far cry from
>I just call 'em as I see 'em. I don't care about his reasons: His work, as
>all artistic creations, stands for itself.
>As for Bach, I don't know of anything that says he would have been
>anything but happy with the multiple interpretations of his works. He
>himself arranged many of his pieces multiple times ...
>Please don't be so arrogant as to speak for Bach.
When I listen to these much maligned Mozart performances, I imagine that GG
only agreed to record the solo sonatas for tangential reasons (maybe
contractual, I haven't read much about this, but I'm sure that his record
company knew that this full series would sell very well!), in any case, the
foremost reason was not his admiration for these works. For me, his
interpretations of the first five or so, are filled with a newness, a
clever energy and an appropriately youthful cast (Mozart was all of 18,
afterall). And his recordings of these sonatas, all composed in 1774, are
the only interpretations that continue to inspire me, as an amateur, to
keep plugging away at such light examples of early Mozart. They are
devilishly difficult to balance just right in performance. They're
teaching pieces, but they challenge more than the basics.
GG made it known that he didn't regard the later sonatas to be as
successful as the early ones, but once he was committed to the entire set
he opted for a simple, finely detailed approach, *and* pushing the envelope
(tempos and accents). Of course, Mozart didn't intend them as a vehicle
for a virtuoso like Gould! and the "pianos" of his day probably wouldn't
have been up to it anyway.
Funny, GG wasn't *pressured* to record the complete Chromatic Fantasy and
Fugue or more of the Haydn sonatas, more solo Brahms?, but collectors would
have felt cheated if he hadn't completed the Mozart sonatas. The
coincidental reasons are interesting and fairly obvious. Does anyone agree
with me about any of this?