[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GG "Creative Lying"

From: John Hill <jphill@home.com>

> "Anne M. Marble" wrote:
> > Have you seen the "Glenn Gould: Shadow Genius" documentary put out by
> > the CBC last year? The short answer is... Not yet.
> Nope.  I think it was banned here in TN.  (8{0}
> Any good?

I'm probably biased because it's about Glenn Gould. I liked "Glenn Gould: A
Portrait" better. But this did have interesting footage.

> Is it commercially available?

It's a CBC Television Life & Times documentary. I bought it at the
Gathering last year for about $30 Canadian. Since then, however, I'm not
sure if it's available. I've seen it on sale at the CBC site, but they were
charging $115! (It was listed as an "Educational Resource," so I guess
that's why they were able to charge such a price.)

Maybe the Foundation has copies for sale at a more humane price. (I mean,
it was good, but it wasn't _that_ good.) Maybe other members can make

> > Andy made some good points, I supposed. He did add balance. Still, he
> > also complained about they always had to do thing Glenn's way.
> The producer/artist relationship *is* a special one;  that's for sure.

Reminds me of that interview I read with Andrew Kazdin recently. (I think I
mentioned it somewhere in a post.) It seems that his favorite type of
artist to work with is... well, not like Glenn Gould. Come to think of it,
I don't really blame him. Working with an artist who _doesn't_ have that
combination of set ideas and a yen for experimentation (wotta combination!)
must be more easier on the spirit. :->

> It's pretty clear that GG demanded complete artistic and creative control
> on the projects he did.  The other folks (Kazdin, the CBC engineers,
> etc.) were there to provide the equipment, rig it, strike it, do the
> (physical) editing and develop the physical master tape.  Kazdin had
> the advantage of being able to "bend the rules" at Columbia and get
> away with things that wouldn't have been possible in the heavily
> unionized environment of the NYC Columbia studios.

That's true. I wonder what GG would've had to change if he hadn't been able
to record in Toronto for all those years? He probably would have to look
for another recording label. One that gave him more freedom. (Perhaps Glenn
Gould Recording, Ltd., if he could have managed it.)

> Since GG's work demanded such a large ratio of session minutes
> to finished product minutes, it only made sense for him to try to rig
> up a "home studio" environment (the Eaton Auditorium) where
> he could spend as much time as he liked to get his ideas on tape.
> Once Kazdin had purchased the appropriate equipment for him and
> left instructions for how to rig everything up, GG's "need" for him
> obviously became less and less.  GG was already quite familiar
> with the process of session work, doing multiple takes and
> marking up a score for editing instructions.

> When artists and producers part company, it's usually the result of a
> dispute or the sense one party has of having been "used" by the
> other.  Looking at Gould's career, his own development as a
> "producer" and the eventual schism with Kazdin was not really
> a surprising development.

Not to mention GG's personality. (Uh-oh, there we go again. Forget I said
that, OK? <g>) When you read the Kazdin book, there is an inevitability
about the whole thing -- and not just because we know what's going to
happen. That's the reaction most people have when reading the book. It's
like reading a tragedy about somebody with a tragic flaw. You keep wanting
to shout, "No! Desdemona is faithful!" But the people never listen.

> On the other hand, producers like to feel that they are organically
> involved with the creative process of the projects they develop.
> Hence, I can understand where some of the "sour grapes" were
> coming from on Kazdin's side.  After a professional involvement
> of some 15 yrs. with a great artist, one can be excused for
> hoping that there might be some kind of job security *and* the
> ability to have some creative influence over things (other than
> picking out wrong notes which the artist turns out not to really
> care about anyway....).

His feelings are much like those of people who put many years into a job
only to be laid-off. Except stronger. When the job encompasses such deep
involvement with the product; creativity; and working with a demanding,
artistic individual... Everything must be even more intense.

> Ultimately, they were Gould's albums and he had pretty strong
> ideas about how things should go.

Yes, must have been like working with a brick wall. Or perhaps a wall made
with granite from the Canadian Shield. :->

> And I bet that AK isn't complaining about the royalties, mechanicals,
> etc. That should amount to some very nice "mailbox money" with
> which to buy houses, write books, work on projects that don't pay,
> retire comfortably, etc.

I'm surprised there aren't more AK books out there...