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Re: GG: Rosen on GG and Horowitz; Dubal

>That's a good point.  But (being a recording guy) I'm gonna side with
>GG's preference for the inherent "take-twoness" of the studio experience
>and the ability to actually juxtapose two (or more) completely different
>approaches and create something that could never happen in a live
>setting.  Also, in live settings you have all that other guck to deal with
>like noisy A/C, people with candy wrappers, people with Whooping Cough,
>people restraining fussy children, etc. etc.   And GG makes the point that the
>live experience often doesn't offer the chance for the artist to really put
>best foot forward, contemplatively speaking.
>> Was it Barenboim whose philosophy is to do two whole takes of a piece and
>> that's it, trusting that intercuts between the two can build something
>> even greater than either one?

My experience with recording sessions is that both what GG and Sandor said
have some truth to them.  GG was right that, in a session, it can be quite
liberating to be able to play radically different approaches of a piece and
choose later which one worked out best, or as you say, glue together the
best parts of several takes as a filmmaker does.

However, Sandor is right that the recording medium itself seems to militate
against daring.  I can't intellectually explain why this is so, but I do
believe it's true.  I find that some stuff I play live in the recording
session itself that I thought was pretty inspired at the time turns out to
feel overdone when listening back to a tape.  So the tendency to
middle-of-the-road-ism that GG decried in live performers and competition
entrants unfortunately does breathe its fumes down the neck of the recording
artist as well.

Another point:  although GG did experiment with tempo from take to take (see
the Bruno Monsaingeon film, I think it was the second part of the 4 he did
in 1974 for French TV), because you can only intercut between two takes of
the same tempo AND Gould was always thinking ahead to the editing session
during the recording session itself, he could only experiment so far.  He
would have to decide at the session itself which interpretation was working
best, use that as a basic take, and work inserts around the tempo of that take.

By sheer random luck, at the Glenn Gould Gathering dinner I was placed at
the same table with Lorne Tulk, and so I was able to find out more about
GG's recording session process.  I'm not at all sure how interested
f-minoreans are in this subject, but I'll try to post a few things from that
conversation at a later point.

My way around recordings coming out too blandly is to try to forge some
balance.  I do throw out the takes where the interpretations were overdone,
but I try to splice together parts of takes where I did some interesting,
sometimes spontaneous turns of phrase or interesting interpretive
articulations.  The end result is I think a hybrid of some of the positive
characteristics of a live performance with some of the positive
characteristics of a recording.

On my most recent recording there were a few pieces that I was running out
of time to do in the session, so I just recorded them each twice without
stopping, as you mentioned Barenboim might do, to get something on tape
before the engineers had to pack up -- and to see, as an experiment, how the
quality might be of a piece I recorded *knowing* I only had two takes to
work with in editing later, versus the remainder of the recording, where I
had essentially an unlimited (for practical purposes) number of takes to
choose from later.  Probably some of these "quickie" pieces will be
released, some not.  I wonder if anyone could tell them apart given a
blindfold test...

I do think what "works" in a live concert and what "works" on a recording
are different enough that live recordings, at least by artists who aren't of
the absolutely top-notch, tend to produce a combination of the worst of both