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Re: some Gouldian Schubert & Scarlatti

>> On the recent topic of other pianists who exhibit Gouldian qualities, try
>> this one:
>My recommendation is Ivo Pogorelich's 1986 recording of the Second and
>English Suites.  To my regrettably untrained ear, in this recording
>Pogorelich comes closer to sounding like Gould than the more well-known and
>available Bach-on-the-piano interpreters that I am familiar with: Schiff,
>Hewitt, Rubsum, Jando, Rosen and Tureck.  (Hewitt, by the way, gets my
>recommendation as the best of the bunch.) As the liner notes point out,
>there's a "powerful sense of forward motion" to Pogorelich's playing, a
>sense of momentum that seems to be almost uniquely Gouldian. (...)
>Are other people  familiar with this recording and can they say what is and
>is not Gouldian about it?  (Bradley, that's your cue, please.)

Hmm.  Really, I think the only thing even halfway Gouldian about that
Pogorelich recording is the often breathless forward drive to it, a style
reminiscent of the mid-20th century (and often east-of-Germany) "sewing
machine" style of playing Bach.  Burn through all the notes quickly and
cleanly and evenly, and maybe that's good enough.  That's one way to play
this music.  It gets the heart rate up, and the raw dexterity impresses

As I've mentioned here before, I hate this P recording for a lot of reasons.
I listened again to it this morning and reread what I wrote in 6/98 (fairly
long and detailed posting in
http://www.tug.org/mail-archives/f_minor/msg03214.html ).  I am impressed
with his finger control and with the recorded sound, but that's about it.  I
don't think he brings much interpretive insight to the music, or illuminates
the compositions.  Bach is inventive and playful from moment to moment, but
to P it's pretty much a page full of naked undifferentiated notes to be
gotten through in big blocks.

To me it's a huge disappointment compared with P's disc of Ravel's "Gaspard"
and Prokofiev's sonata #6, or his other dozen recordings.  In later music
he's amazingly detailed and colorful, bringing out the quirks with
occasional exaggeration, but in Bach he's merely one-dimensional and dull by
his own performance standards.  (His more recent Scarlatti comes off a
little better, being a different kind of music, but overall I find it rather
dull also.)

GG's recordings of those two English suites are so much more interesting
than P's: more detailed treatment of the notes, even within firm tempos.  GG
peers into every weave of the fabric and shows us what he finds there; P
just runs a steam iron over everything and gives us whole cloth.  Another
big difference is that GG's left hand is fully involved in dialogue, while
P's is just along for a smooth power-steering ride.

Plus in the A minor Sarabande GG can count to 3 beats per measure like any
normal person.  P plays it in a ludicrously distorted meter: wherever he
encounters quarter notes that don't have a moving part against them, he
gives them a value somewhere between 3.5 and 4 eighths (rather than two).
No..........senseoftiming.  No dance to it whatsoever, just a bunch of
pretty notes in an amorphous rhythm.  I wonder how much argument P and his
producer had about releasing something *so* willfully weird, something that
exhibits so little apparent reason for being that way.  If he had taken more
probing liberties with the other movements, this one would make more sense
in such a context.

>Making a more abstract comparison, for me Richter's live 58 Pictures at an
>Exhibition displays a spirit of passionate and joyous solo piano adventure
>rivaled only by the 55 Goldbergs.  Anyone else sense a connection (other
>than being in mono and from the fifties :-) between these two classic

I agree with your assessment of those two performances...plus these two
recordings were each huge launches of careers.  (Richter's exposure west of
the USSR; GG on Columbia.)  They are such involved and committed playing.
I'd put William Kapell's recordings in that category, too.

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