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Re: Rosen

>>     I have been listening to quite a few of the Great Pianists artists
>> Gould really does stand out among many of them for, of all things, the
>> subtelty of his dynamics.  For reasons Rosen explains, Gould did not
>> at tonal colour (because he disliked the padal so much), but what comes
>> a surprise is the dynamic variations, which seem to me to be unique.  For
>> many artists there is fff and ppp, but Gould operated at all levels in
>> between.
>Interesting, but surprising that Horowitz is slated as a mere virtuoso then
>Gould's dynamic range is mentioned. Horowitz had the biggest dynamic range
>ever heard, and every imaginable graduation in between the extremes. This
>the real strength of his playing, not his technique. Sorry, but compared to
>Horowitz, Gould had hardly any dynamic range (although I believe this is
>quite intentional on Gould's part and actually a strength of his individual

Agreed about GG's usually restricted dynamic range being a part of his
individual style.  He was pretty firmly into the now-questionable 1950's
common practice of playing Baroque music with "terraced dynamics" to
delineate structure.  It's an artistic choice with some earlier 20th century
precedents; it's as much a reaction against supposedly "too-romantic" Bach
as anything.  It also might have come from his training as an organist: at
the piano it shows up as his use of a basically flat dynamic level and
similar articulation throughout a section to simulate the effect of
sectional organ registrations.  (Bazzana covers this topic well on p211-12
of his book.)  The point here: GG *could* play with as finely graded
dynamics as he wanted to, note to note and phrase to phrase (e.g., in
Schoenberg), but chose not to do so in much of the music he is most
popularly known for.  GG's low seating inevitably reduced some of the loud
end of his range, too.

As for a pianist with a huge dynamic range, check out Ervin
Nyiregyhazi...two Columbia albums and an International Piano Archives album
in the LP days.  (There's also a CD of his operatic paraphrases which I
haven't heard.)  IPA 111, 1974; M2 34598, 1978; M 35125, 1979.  His quiet
passages are intimate, and the loud passages (often heavily pedaled) are

I'd say that "technique" for a musician is the ability to play with a
well-controlled and well-deployed range of different sounds, not a raw
ability to play fast lines or loud octaves or double notes or huge leaps.
It's also an ability to make pieces sound different from one another, and to
make sense within themselves.  Good technique offers the player some choices
which can then help give convincing meaning to the musical gestures.  Bad
technique reduces the music to merely a more-or-less accurate trip through
the notes, no matter how "yowza" loud and fast that might be.

>I think that many people will take offence at a few of my comments, but I
>assure you that I am as great a Gould fan as anybody. However I feel this
>mailing list should be a front for serious discussion, rather than
>senselessly excessive praise of Gould whatever he did, and endless banal
>discussion of superficial matters (I'm certainly not referring to your
>particular posting, Allan, but some of the other ones we have seen). Much
>I admire Gould he made many bad recordings and if I often criticise him it
>is because I belive in objective listening, not because I dislike him.

Same here.

Bradley Lehman, bpl@umich.edu ~ http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl
Dayton VA