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Re: Metronomes (was Re: No, Gould's so fast)

> The short bio at http://www.sonyclassical.com/artists/gould/bio.html says
> that it was Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto.
> He played this concerto in 1946 as his solo debut with a Royal
> concert.
> I don't know if GG's later recorded version of this concerto is anything
> like the Schnabel version he so loved... Any takers? :->

GG's own tale of this recording is at pp 438-440 in the GG Reader, part of
his essay "A Desert Island Discography."  The Schnabel recording (Chicago
Symphony/Frederick Stock) is from 7/24/42.  On CD it's RCA Gold Seal 61393.

Listening to that recording side by side with GG's, I don't hear many
similarities.  Schnabel groups the notes and phrases together rhetorically,
giving a loose improvisatory feel to the smallest notes and differentiating
their musical functions into the effects he believed Beethoven wanted.  It
also seems natural and graceful, not willful; we're listening to Beethoven's
music, not Schnabel.  GG plays everything with much more evenness of
emphasis and time (our attention is drawn more to the individual notes
rather than to large units or any pianistic special effects).  We're
listening to GG downplaying Beethoven's quirky effects in favor of the
clarity of every note.

To me, Schnabel is more convincing than GG in the fast movements: better
flow, more excitement, and better clarity of the piece's structure (more
differentiation).  The pianistic effects are part of the piece, and the
piano seems to be part of the orchestra.  GG's fast movements here seem held
back by his emphasis on bringing unimportant notes to the foreground,
keeping himself more in the spotlight rather than blending into the
orchestra.  GG shines in the slow movement, bringing a more intense focus:
that's a place where his note-oriented approach works well, and Bernstein
matches the intensity.

And Bernstein and Stock have different approaches, too.  As above, with
Stock we hear Beethoven and a relatively selfless presentation of the music.
With Bernstein we hear Bernstein's Beethoven and are more conscious of who's

I'm eager to hear Helene Grimaud's recording of this.

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