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RE: Mozart was a bad composer...

It seems to me that, although some of GG's comments on Mozart are
tongue-in-cheek and naughtily provocative, the underlying concepts are meant
seriously, and are consistent with his overall aesthetic. His performances
of the Mozart piano sonatas -- particularly the early ones, such as K.
279-84 -- are a combination of bracing high spirits and willful distortion.
The high spirits come from GG's sympathetic and sincere response to the
comedic (opera buffa) elements in this music. The distortion comes from
engrafting, on essentially homophonic music, a contrapuntal overlay that
simply is not part of the structure of these compositions. Although I enjoy
these performances, the pleasure I take in them is somewhat guilty, since in
this case (unlike in the case of Bach), GG's superhuman sensitivity to and
ability to articulate separate linear strands does not reveal the deeper
structures in the music -- rather, it reconstructs the music. 

GG's professed distaste for later Mozart, because of its overtly dramatic
qualities, is consistent with his aesthetic of restraint, but at the same
time it blinds him to the virtues of Mozart's greatest works. I don't think
we could really question the genius of the later Piano Concertos (any from
14 through 27), or operas such as Don Giovanni, Figaro, or Die Zauberflote.
Those seeking a beautifully balanced and revelatory analysis of this music
should read the chapters on the concertos and operas in Rosen's "The
Classical Style."

GG's views on Mozart seem to me to be an example of the unique inability of
certain genuiuses to appreciate certain other geniuses (others are Tolstoy's
hatred of Shakespeare, and Chopin's dislike of Schumann). These
idiosyncratic responses reveal far more about the condemning genius than
they do about his nemesis.

-----Original Message-----
From: BONG [mailto:bong@iti.lt]
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 1999 2:33 PM
To: f_minor@email.rutgers.edu
Subject: Re: Mozart was a bad composer...

The article or interview, no matter, was quite amusing (as it was
ridiculous). Gould resembles a naughty child crying he doesn't like
chocolate ice cream but adores another sort of ice cream. It is interesting
to know the personal taste in music of your favorite pianist but it's all
about his personal taste (Gould's "proofs" are laughable: "a piece that
drives me absolutely crazy", "it makes me cringe" etc). If Gould has made
you to change your own personal taste, you're a true fan, that's all.

Juozas Rimas