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Re: later style

> >    >The third and final question is, if I should do this, which recordings
> in the mind of the F-minors best show off Gould's later style?
> >
> >Cp. 14 of the Art of Fugue.
> yes, absolutely, this is a great recording - compare it to someone like
> mcgregor, it's amazing (almost like a different piece of music)

I think you're correct to point out that he plays it "almost like a
different piece of music."  It's worth hearing, on those terms.  And it
does show off Gould's later style:  it's a style wherein GG commandeered
Bach pieces and made them be introspective portraits of Glenn Gould.  
That narcissistic approach is certainly an interesting way to play, and
it's been argued here before whether that is a virtue or not.  How
subjective can an artistic interpretation be before the music turns into a
different piece?  (In the same way, in the Solitude Trilogy GG manipulated
the material so thoroughly that he really became the writer, and the
recorded interviews are no longer by or about the participants.  The
Solitude Trilogy is about Glenn Gould's internal landscape, not about the
north or Newfoundland or Mennonites.  The Brahms G-minor Rhapsody
performance is also about Glenn Gould.)

But even within that mold where GG has pretty much taken over the
composer's role (this fugue isn't Bach anymore, it's now "Glenn Gould's
Bach"), this Cp14 performance is atypical for GG: he italicizes details (a
quality for which he praised the singing of Schwarzkopf and Streisand),
yet he still sounds aimless and indecisive about the "big picture" of the
piece.  He admitted to his producer that he wasn't sure which overall
approach to use.  That indecisiveness is rare for GG.

In short, heard on CD this performance sounds to me like work in progress,
and not GG at his personal best as a musician.  Along with GG's thrashing
of the Chromatic Fantasy, it was just a TV thing where GG was being more
pedantic and arbitrary than he would have been in preparing a stand-alone
performance for serious musical release on disc.  To make sense as an
artistic project, this performance needs its original context of GG's
spoken commentary in the video, *and* the cinematography.

Well, we've been down this road before about why I find this fugue
performance particularly unsatisfying as a sound-only recording, and why
some other f_minor folks disagree vehemently about this assessment.  In
September 1997 I went into great detail about this recording, with
comparative examples, and there was a lively discussion.  See the archives
at "http://www.tug.org/mail-archives/f_minor/msg02644.html"; and, for
enough context, read the date threads for a few weeks before and after
that.  The discussion got into some interesting points about the nature of

Bradley Lehman ~ http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/ 
Harrisonburg VA, USA ~ 38.45N+78.94W