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Re: Hewing Hewitt down to size

I'm entirely with Birgitte on this one.   It's a matter of personal taste,
no doubt, but for my money no one except Gould himself has equaled the 55
recording of the Goldbergs.   His WTC testifies to the man's genius here and
there, but his Goldbergs (both of them) are pure genius from beginning to

It is worth noting, as well, that Hewitt's approach to Bach, lovely to
listen to in many ways, is light-years away from Gould's in terms of basic
approach.   For one, attempting to forge a career and a reputation out of
performing Bach publicly, which is what Hewitt is trying to do, would have
been anathema to Gould.   (I heard her perform the entire WTC here in

But more important, Hewitt's emphasis in Bach is quite consciously and
deliberately on tone; whereas Gould is more about contrapuntal
possibilities.   That is, Gould's WTC isn't trying to be "beautiful" in an
external sense, or trying to please in any way.   His WTC strikes me as an
investigation into the work--he's looking for something new to say at every
juncture.   That's why much of it is, at least to my ears, quite hard to
listen to.  But isn't that what the playing of the WTC should be all about?
And isn't that what clavichord artists like Colin Tilney (also Canadian, I
think) are trying to do?    Mind you, there are spectacular break-throughs
in Gould's WTC, to mention only two, his reading of P and F 22 and 23.

J. Grant
>The very fact that she is Canadian renders her rendition all the more
>wanting to my ears. Not because she dared to challenge Gould on his own
>turf (I think he would have admired that), but because having done so,
>she serves up a comparatively lifeless recording. It seems to me that if
>you?re going to throw down the gauntlet and compete with the status quo
>you?d better have something miraculous up your sleeve.
>It is no exaggeration to say that perceptions of Bach were upturned by
>Gould's once provocative interpretations and his influence on later
>generations of pianists and listeners has been nothing less than
>definitive. But while The Gouldian Way has become standardized as common
>currency, it isn't easily counterfeited. As he insisted in his own
>approach to music, there is little point in recording classical music if
>you can't say something new about it. (The Iliad gets rewritten every
>day but in endless permutations of Homer's progenitor. As with classical
>texts, so too with classical scores.) To take on the Goldbergs at this
>point in time and do anything less than novel with them strikes me as
>the ultimate in hubris. I?m sorry to say that Hewitt, instead of
>delivering a fresh, daring new interpretation of her own, offers nothing
>that will set the classical music world alight, as you-know-who did back
>in 1955. To be fair, while she is technically competent and certainly
>not unlikable, she just doesn?t have the wizardry to cast a magic spell.
>The spirit of Glenn Gould reincarnated in Angela Hewitt?? Pure
>But, don?t take my word for it, F_Minors. You can all listen to it on
>the Amazon site for free and decide for yourselves if I am tone-deaf.
>The Aria and Variation 7 are downloadable in Liquid Audio format:
>Listen and comment.
>Birgitte Jorgensen