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GG: Toccatas! ( Was Re: GG reputation - <yawn>) (fwd)

I thought ya'll might enjoy this.  It was in response to my response to a
classm_l message about this fanatical Glenn Gould cult who ACTUALLY have
their own list.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 08:56:13 -0500
From: Mimi Ezust <mezust@SUNSPOT.TIAC.NET>
Reply-To: Classical Music List <CLASSM-L@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list CLASSM-L <CLASSM-L@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Subject: Toccatas! ( Was Re: GG reputation - <yawn>)

While the discussion about GG went on yesterday, I flashed back to the
time I saw him in concert in Philadelphia. He came out with gloves and a
scarf, crossed his legs, scrunched down in his seat, fussed around,
started to play Bach, looked out at the audience, sang, grimaced, and won
our hearts!

I just put on my cd of GG's Toccatas to see why people have been
complaining so much about Gould. What exactly is the beef with it? I don't
really understand. I think it's terrific!

Gould is playing them as if he is making them up on the spot. It is a most
personal statement!  My own understanding of a toccata is that it
developed from an improvisation ... fiddling around with a lute or other
keyboard instrument that needs frequent tuning, fussing around with chords
to make sure it is in tune, playing fragments of things, listening to
one's own efforts, coming up with a dance or other form, something fugal
perhaps ... very darned close to our own jazz! It is experimental in
nature, and ought to sound as if it is an outgrowth of noodling around,
searching for motives, feeling out the music. Each one has it's own mood.
The range of emotion is very broad, both within each Toccata, and from one
to the other.

He is playing them  freely, but each phrase he plays makes musical sense
to me. I even like to hear him hum. It pleases me to know he is humming
away next to my ear even though he is in that big Electronic Boesendorfer
in the Sky.

The recordings were made over thirty years ago, right before the HIP hit
full force. They still sound fresh and new to me. Even after many

There are many other enjoyable performances of these puzzling works but I
happily admit that Glenn Gould is right up there. I'm never bored when I
hear him. He has immediate access to my emotions. That is my major test
for a performance.

He is like a juggler. He manages to get COMPLETE separation of line,
something I treasure as a long-time inner-voice specialist.

He is also playing around with different tone colors, exaggerating the
effects of rubato and silence.

What do you think he would have made of the computer labs of today had he
lived to experience them? What music do you think he'd be making?

I can not understand what is gained by trashing one performer in favor of
another. It's all just taste. Something might appeal to one person that is
totally overlooked by another. I'm always curious about what people LIKE
in the music they hear, and why they are loyal to one performer over
another. I learn less about music from what people hate than from what
they like.