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Re: WTC's fugue in A minor

Marcos asked:

>Perhaps this is an old question, and its answer is somewhere in the list
>archives, but anyway...
>Until today, I've never really had bothered to locate precisely where
>the (in)famous splicing occurs in GG's recording of WTC-I's A minor
>as he describes it, it begins with take 6, then take 8 is used, and then
>back to take 6. Can someone please point me, in minutes and seconds of
>the cd track, where that happens?
>My guess is that it's take 6 until 0:30, then take 8 for most of the
>rest of it; take 6 enters again at 2:24 or just at 3:01? [total time
>being, in my CD, still the Columbia version of it, at 3:24]
>(or I've got it all wrong?)

Fun game!  Here are my guesses from this evening.  If the "pompous" take is
6, and the "skittish" one with "unwarranted jubilation" is 8 (GG's
descriptions), here's where I guess the splices (also working from the CBS
three-disc set of WTC complete, M3K 42266) :

Pompous 0'00"
Skittish 0'30"
P 0'46"
S 1'00"
P 1'07" or more likely 1'17"
S 1'44"
P 1'56"
S 2'23"
P 2'41"
S 3'00" (coming out of the big rest)
P 3'09" to end (3'22")

In the "pompous" take with its "Teutonic severity," GG's touch is generally
stickier on the releases of the sixteenth notes and eighth notes.  The
miking and/or the room acoustic also seems a bit crisper in the "skittish"
version: there seem to be more prominent high harmonics in the piano tone.

But to me the giveaway is as much the pitch as any of that: the lighter take
is noticeably sharper.  In both this first CD issue and in the LP's there
are some pretty obvious rifts where the pitch abruptly slides up or down for
the different sections of this fugue.  (But it's not nearly as noticeable as
in the Toccatas!  <cringe>)  Did they fix this in the Sony GG Edition of the

GG wrote that "two rudimentary splices were made" in this fugue (and if
that's true I've picked out too many splice points above), but I'm
disinclined to take his essay at face value; he also describes this fugue's
duration as "only a bit over two minutes."  ("The prospects of recording,"
p338-9 in the _Glenn Gould Reader_)  Also, GG wasn't the producer of his WTC
recordings, and may not have had the final say on which takes were used
where.  Were the "rudimentary" splices the only ones used here?  Given all
the pitch shifting, I doubt it.  There's also the possibility that portions
may have come from takes other than 6 and 8.

Is Paul Myers still around to tell us?

- Bradley Lehman