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GG: Solitude-- 50 days

I've been reading a wonderful journal by Doris Grumbach, contributing 
literary editor of _The New Republic_, a non-fiction columnist for the
NYTBR (NY Times Book Review), and a book reviewer for NPR (National
Public Radio.)  The book is called _Fifty Days of Solitude_ and it's
about her temporary retreat away from society, a favorite topic and
activity of Gould's.  

At one point she writes about music and how she hears it differently

"The music I listened to every afternoon began to take on the
semblance of menace.  When I felt most desolate, the heavy tones of
Richard Struass's _Four Last Songs_ (_Vier Letzte Lieder_), the weary,
tender words of one of them, "Im Abendrot" ("At Sunset") by Joseph von
Eichendorff, in the isolation of my sitting room seemed far more
poignant than when I had heard Jessye Norman sing them at the Kennedy
Center to an audience of almost a thousand persons.  Alone here, her
huge voice on a compact disc, carefully reduced to its softest and
most eloquent contralto level, brought me to the edge of tears.  It
was unbearable to hear the gentle sadness and resignation of

	Vom Wandern ruhen wir
	(We are resting from our wandering)
	Nun Ubern stillen Land.
	(now above the quiet countryside.)

	Bald ist es Schlafenzeit
	(Soon it will be time to sleep)
	Das wir uns night verirren
	(lest we lose our way)
	In dieser Einsamkeit
	(in this solitude)

	O weiter, stiller Friede.
	(O broad, deep peace.)
	So tief im Abendrot
	(So deep in the sunset,)
	Wie sind wir wandermude--
	(how tired of wandering we are--)
	Is dies etwa der Tod?
	(could this perhaps be death?)

	The words were not Strauss's, but the music came from a very old man,
a year before his death to which he seemed to be entirely resigned.
The quiet countryside, the solitude of wandering and sleep, the peace
of the dying sun, were all intimations of death, or, the poet Joseph
von Eichendorff asked, were they death itself?

	Music like this is better heard among people, as part of an
audience.  I made a decision to choose my afternoon selections more
carefully, seeking out the sunnier arias from Mozart operas or the
Goldberg variations or the early Beethoven quartets."

<end Grumbach>

I believe you can hear a snippet of GG playing "Im Abendrot" on the
video _Mostly Strauss_ -- Sony's released his T.V. performance of "Beim
Schlafengehen" with Lois Marshall on CD and video. GG says on "Mostly
Strauss" that he is "addicted to Strauss the way most people are
addicted to choclate sundays-- I find his his music irresistable."

Interesting mix-- Strauss and solitude.

-Mary Jo