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Re: [BACH-LIST] gould
On 20 Apr 1998, David B. Klein wrote:
> Moreover, Gould played a tricked-up old Chickering that
> he had modified to produce a special, jangly, percussive effect for Bach
> playing. Finally, Gould's recording technology at Columbia was crappy, to boot.
The Chickering was one of GG's *rehearsal* pianos that lived out at
the cottage on Lake Simcoe. To my knowledge, none of the Columbia
releases were made with it. GG's primary recording instrument was
a Steinway model D called CD318. This was the instrument used on
everything from the late 60s up to the second Goldberg recording in
I think it would be more fair to say that the Columbia recordings
were inconsistent. Some are quite good and still stand up well.
Many show serious technical flaws or suffered at the hands of Gould's
own need to experiment with the medium.
> Gould admitted in interviews that he was defacing the music, and that he
> didn't respect Mozart as a composer. No composer suffered as badly at
> Gould's hands as did Mozart. For his part, Gould should perhaps be
> remembered for his Bach, and can at best be forgiven for his sins against
He did some pretty strange stuff with WAM, but one could say that about
almost *any* of GG's interpretations. The best material for Gould seemed
to be works where the composer deliberately left many parameters like
tempo and phrasing "up for grabs" (Bach) or works that were unpopular and
didn't have a wide, general audience at the time (Schoenberg, Krenek,
Webern, etc.). Gould went on record as saying that "advocacy is a
powerful tool". Unfortunately, it appears that he used the reverse
process on the set of Mozart sonatas (ie: "these are bad compositions and
here's why I think so...").