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Re: Mozart was a bad composer...

>>can anyone tell me whether the quotation "Mozart was a bad composer who
>>too late rather than too early" comes from?
>>I don't want to broadcast it if it's not Gould!!!
>A very infantile and groundless quotation. If it's Gould, I can't respect
>him any more.

Our reading for the day is taken from the interview "Of Mozart and related
matters: Glenn Gould in conversation with Bruno Monsaingeon".  It is found
in the _Glenn Gould Reader_ p. 32-43 [originally in _Piano Quarterly_, Fall
1976, the forty-second Year of Our Glenn].

Will the f_minors please rise:

B.M.: Glenn, I can't [help] feeling that we've a quite extraordinary paradox
here.  You've recorded all of the Mozart sonatas in the past few years, so
we now have on hand, so to speak, your views on a major portion of Mozart's
piano writing.  Yet you continue to give interviews in which you make very
unsympathetic comments about Mozart as a composer; you continue to insist,
for example, that he "died too late rather than too soon."  I know that's a
comment on his last works rather than on his premature death, but I put it
to you: Is it not inconsistent, given those feelings, to record the last
sonatas or, when you get around to the concertos, K. 595, for example?

G.G.: Yes, it certainly is, Bruno, although I don't intend to get around to
the concertos, so at least we can set that part of the question aside.


B.M.: Well, before I try to understand what it is that made it possible for
you to record the sonatas but not the concertos, let me try to find out how
this all began.  Were you always out of sympathy with Mozart, even in your
student days?

G.G.: As far back as I can remember.

B.M.: But, as a student, you must have had to learn and play these works,

G.G.: So far as I can remember, I began to study the Paris sonatas about a
year before that--K. 332 was the first, I think.

B.M.: And you always disliked them?

G.G.: What I felt at that time, I think, was dismay.  I simply couldn't
understand how my teachers, and other presumably sane adults of my
acquaintance, could count these pieces among the great musical treasures of
Western man.  The actual process of playing them, on the other hand, was
always very enjoyable.  I had a lot of fun running my fingers up and down
the keys, exploiting all those scales and arpeggios.  After all, they offer
the same sort of tactile pleasure as--Saint-Saens, let's say.

B.M.: I think I should ignore that.

G.G.: Oh, please don't.  I admire Saint-Saens, especially when he's not
writing for the piano.


Here ends the reading.  The word of the Glenn.

["Thanks be to Gould."]


And given what we know about GG himself often scripting his interviewers'
questions...it's probably fair to say that the words in Monsaingeon's
"mouth" are reliably GG's.  GG certainly doesn't refute them in this

Bradley Lehman, bpl@umich.edu