Author Topic: Glenn Gould  (Read 33999 times)

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Offline DavidA

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #180 on: October 19, 2013, 10:33:02 AM »
Hi James,

Have you read "The Glenn Gould Reader"?

I have the book, just haven't got around to reading it yet.

I have a couple of biographies of Gould but not the GG Reader. GG had a problem in that he wanted to do things that weren't his strength. So he lectures after he retired from the concert platform were absolutely hopeless except to real music specialists. Most people just couldn't understand him. He was not a great communicator (eg like Bernstein) except when he played the piano. People only listen to him talk and buy the books because he was the great Glenn Gould. It's a great pity he couldn't take constructive criticism because, great as he's legacy is, I think it may have been greater if he'd are allowed people to speak into his life. As it was he dropped those people from his acquaintance who were actually trying to do something constructive to help him.

Offline George

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #181 on: October 19, 2013, 10:41:09 AM »
My Mitropolous Conducting Mahler set arrived today, and in it, in lieu of liner notes, was a catalogue of West Hill Radio Archives.



Apparently they don't sell directly in the US for copyright reasons, but it's available on AmazonUK and other places

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glen-Gould-Concert/dp/B004R7Z3L8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1344132664&sr=1-1

The catalogue includes a complete listing of the perfomances included; if any one wants the list,  PM me.

Kind of odd they used the same photo used in the cover of the very popular State of Wonder set:

"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Online Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #182 on: October 19, 2013, 05:01:20 PM »
I have a couple of biographies of Gould but not the GG Reader. GG had a problem in that he wanted to do things that weren't his strength. So he lectures after he retired from the concert platform were absolutely hopeless except to real music specialists. Most people just couldn't understand him. He was not a great communicator (eg like Bernstein) except when he played the piano. People only listen to him talk and buy the books because he was the great Glenn Gould. It's a great pity he couldn't take constructive criticism because, great as he's legacy is, I think it may have been greater if he'd are allowed people to speak into his life. As it was he dropped those people from his acquaintance who were actually trying to do something constructive to help him.

I disagree with that, at least as far as what's contained in the Reader.  Based on what's in that, I'd say he was a great essayist, with a good deal of wit (often directed at himself) and style.  Everything in the Reader was written in a way that doesn't require anything more than the most basic knowledge of music (yes, he assumes you know what a "third" is,  and can tell the difference between a quarter note and a whole note, etc.)--possibly because several of the essays in the Reader were originally written as liner notes for his recordings, and others as radio programs for the CBC. 

Offline Jo498

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #183 on: February 03, 2016, 11:07:49 AM »
I came to know most Bach keyboard works in Gould's recordings (main exception: WTC where I first heard and owned Gulda and maybe also Richter before Gould) and often I do not know other interpretation half as well, so I am not quite objective here. I am not too fond of his "Italian Concerto", everything else I find at least interesting, often essential.

Brief comments on other recordings:

Late Haydn sonatas: They are quirky and funny (which fits Haydn very well), highly recommended (despited quirkiness and some very slow slow movements).

Late Brahms pieces: This is maybe Gould at his most "normal", still very original but not in "creative distortion mode"

Beethoven variations: Admittedly, this was also my first disc of the music, but other than with some Bach I know other recordings very well and it is still one of my favorite Beethoven discs.
Beethoven bagatelles: Again, I was imprinted on his op.126 (and tend to find most others too fast in the great b minor one)
Beethoven piano concertos: 1+2 are the best and maybe my favorite recordings of them (not only because of Gould but also due to the powerful "military" accompaniment by Golschmann and Bernstein. I'd have to revisit 3-5 but they tend to be somewhat too slow for my taste. But again, Gould is less excentric here than elsewhere.
I'll skip the Beethoven sonatas because I would have to relisten. As I recall it, the only complete failure is the notorious Appassionata (with the first mvmt in ca. half speed). I dislike several others (the crazily fast and unpoetic op.109), am rather fond of op.10/3 and most of op.31, but even the very excentric ones (like op.27/2 with an uncommonly fast and non legato, "unromantic" first mvmt) are usually interesting enough to be listened to once in a while. Unfortunately one has to get both 3-disc-sets to get all the interesting ones.

Mozart sonatas: They range from crazy/ugly to interesting as well. He butchers the harmless little sonata facile K 545 but despite crazy tempi and relentless staccato I find some of the others fascinating. E.g. the creatively deconstructed K 331 where somehow subverts the variation mvmt so that one has the impression that the fast section at the end is slowly "put together" during the variations before that seem to serve only as an introduction.
Comparably normal (but still quite unusual) and maybe the easiest recommendations are the a minor sonata, the last sonata K 576 and the c minor concerto.

Wagner: I am not fond of the Siegfried Idyll as a piece, so will not comment on his conducting, but Meistersinger and Rhine Journey are great

I also have his Schoenberg, Sibelius and Hindemith but do not know the music well enough to have an opinion on his playing (except that the Sibelius works seem utterly forgettable to me, no clue what he found attractive there).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #184 on: February 03, 2016, 12:26:29 PM »

 Meistersinger and Rhine Journey are great



I too like the way he transcribes.



I also have his Schoenberg,

The studio Schoenberg suite is really very unusual,  worth hearing I would say.

Since you like the bagatelles, here's a non commercial op 126/3

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_X2GimjrvdPNnItampleWhjZWc/view?usp=sharing
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 12:34:55 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #185 on: February 03, 2016, 12:33:32 PM »
Brief comments on other recordings:

Probably my favorite Gould recording is his "Consort of Musick" Byrd/Gibbons album. It is totally un-HIP to play these virginal pieces on a grand piano, but he does it, and in the process creates a convincing world of his own.

This album got me interested in other early keyboard music, and it also makes me regret that Gould didn't record more of it. There is that one Sweelinck piece on the re-issue, but wouldn't it be cool to have Gould playing Froberger or Frescobaldi?
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #186 on: February 03, 2016, 01:09:23 PM »
I forgot the Byrd/Gibbons; I have that one as well but did not think of it because it is music I usually associate with virginal/harpsichord and I do not know Gould's recording well. I agree it would have been cool to have an(other) anthology or two of early/mid 17th century keyboard polyphony with Gould.

Another oddball favorite someone mentioned further above is the single CPE Bach sonata. The 4? Scarlatti sonatas are mainly strange but I still would have liked at least one disc with CPE Bach and Scarlatti, respectively.

I also forgot the Handel disc maybe because I am in some kind of love/hate relationship with it. The sound is disgusting (partly because of the instrument, partly because Gould apparently treats it badly, partly because of recording quality) but Gould does some fascinating things and it is a pity that he did not at least finish the 8 great suites. (Apparently there was more Handel than only one LP planned, then the piano broke, Gould made that harpsichord recording and it sold badly, so no further recordings.)

There are quite a few unfortunate "might have beens". I'd rather have two discs with Mozart sonatas and 4 with  Haydn's (or complete). Also the Diabellis, late Brahms opp. 116-119 complete and the Handel variations, and maybe Reger's Telemann variations (I have no clue if Gould was interested in Reger, but with his faible for complex polyphonic music he should have been).

Another favorite I forgot is the Schumann piano quartet with Juilliard, probably the most memorable chamber recordings with Gould for me.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 01:11:31 PM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #187 on: February 03, 2016, 03:12:52 PM »
... As I recall it, the only complete failure is the notorious Appassionata (with the first mvmt in ca. half speed). ...

Is that a failure??  Sounds alright to me.  (As do many other more mainstream interpretations)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #188 on: February 04, 2016, 12:06:10 AM »
Let's put it this way: I don't think the Appassionata works although I have met other people who agree with you.
As I am probably also in a minority with respect to his K 331 I certainly accept your opinion but I doubt I will ever share it.
It's interesting: If the Appassionata at about half tempo (1st mvmt) works, this actually disproves Gould's provocative statements about all the "empty" and overly self-confident gestures of "middle Beethoven". Because the "appassionato" character of the piece is certainly destroyed by the slo-mo, so if it works despite that...
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #189 on: February 19, 2016, 08:19:22 AM »
A few days ago I listened to a bunch of Beethoven sonatas with Gould.

op.2: This is more for fans of the excentric, I'd say. Some tempi are almost as slow (compared to "normal") as his notorious appassionata and while it works better here, it can be irritating. Especially when in op.2#1,i he adds little flourishes (or arpeggiates chords) on top of playing at roughly half the normal tempo. I think he misses most of the youthful energy of that piece (despite a touchingly played slow movement and a finale in a normal tempo)
Interestingly the least excentric is the concertante op.2#3 where only the slow movement is very slow and the others normal to fast.
So a mixed bunch, most interesting for me is #2 where the character of the first mvmt. is rather changed because of the slow tempo (ca. 90 for a quarter note, normal would probably be 120-130) but it works quite well.

op.31: This is highly recommendable, I think. Tempi are usually on the fast side although not as outrageously as in some of op.10; he is hilarious and witty in the first two mvmts of op.31#1.
Together with the variations and bagatelles this would probably be the disc I'd recommend to those who (think that they) hate Gould's Beethoven interpretations.

op.106. Mandryka wrote that this was a favorite while my memories were not very favorable. I liked it considerably better than I remembered. The first movement is very slow (about 11 min w/o repeat, this would be around 14 with repeat) and it's not majestic (like "slowish" readings by e.g. Gilels and others) either but it somehow works better than one would expect and the lyrical passages really shine at the slow tempo. The scherzo is too slow and mechanical in the central section, the slow movement is quite good (and not all that excentric). So is the finale (moderately slower than average but not jarringly so and with very clear polyphony as to be expected from GG). The sound is also better than I had remembered.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline betterthanfine

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #190 on: February 23, 2016, 01:25:29 PM »
op.31: This is highly recommendable, I think. Tempi are usually on the fast side although not as outrageously as in some of op.10; he is hilarious and witty in the first two mvmts of op.31#1.
Together with the variations and bagatelles this would probably be the disc I'd recommend to those who (think that they) hate Gould's Beethoven interpretations.

The op. 31 Beethoven sonatas are my favorite Gould recordings by far, particularly the third movement of 31/2. When it comes to Beethoven, I also like his Mondschein, even though it's the fastest account I know.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 06:30:25 AM by betterthanfine »

Online Scarpia

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #191 on: February 23, 2016, 04:54:23 PM »
Is there a consensus on whether this release, billed as "remastered" sounds noticeably different from the previous round of releases? Sony released basically all of Glen Gould's recordings in a series of moderately sized box sets and I have most of the ones containing Bach. Worth purchasing the new edition?

Offline Jo498

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Re: Glenn Gould
« Reply #192 on: February 24, 2016, 12:08:41 AM »
I can't really help with newer remasterings but I do no think that the differences are large enough to justify the expense.
There is a sometimes fairly large sound difference between the earliest CBS CDs until the early 1990s and the "white" Glenn Gould edition (most of my discs are from this one). I have a bunch of discs from later "original covers" editions and if there is a difference between those and the "white" ones it is very small. But I have only in a few cases heard/owned the same recordings in different remasterings.

There is another point listeners who owned the LPs could maybe shed light on. The sound of Gould's piano on recordings was rather unusual (very directly recorded, among other things) and I have been told that later CD remasterings tended to "smooth" or "normalize" that odd sound. So they might sound "better" for most listeners but less Gouldian.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Cato

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Re: Glenn Gould: New Edition of the Bach: Goldberg Variations Recording
« Reply #193 on: October 05, 2017, 03:38:20 AM »
A Wall Street Journal review of a new edition of the c. 1955 recording by Gould of the Goldberg Variations by Bach:


An excerpt:

Quote
...(In 1955) the “Goldbergs” and their composer were generally regarded, at the time, as the province of antiquarian specialists—an attitude Gould’s recording helped change.

When it was released, in January 1956, listeners were dazzled by the breakneck tempos and textural clarity of Gould’s reading. But Gould, a deep thinker and restless interpreter, came to see the recording as an artifact of his callow youth. He recorded the “Goldbergs” again in 1981, taking slower tempos and building his reading on a deeply personalized approach to tempo relationships. The remake was released in September 1982; a month later, Gould died, after a stroke, at age 50.

Gould’s 1981 “Goldbergs” is the more mature of the two, but even listeners who acknowledge the remake’s greater depth find the 1955 account more thrilling....

...if you are among the many who regard Gould’s earlier “Goldbergs” as one of the great classical recordings of the past century, you will want the full-immersion experience offered on the newly released “Glenn Gould: The Goldberg Variations—The Complete Unreleased Recording Sessions, June 1955” (Sony Classical).

It is an astonishing production...All told, the set includes 325 tracks on seven CDs—five discs devoted to the full run of “Goldberg” sessions (but not the recordings of the Bach Sinfonias that Gould attempted midway through the “Goldbergs” but did not approve for release), plus the 1982 Gould-Page interview and a remastered version of the album. A vinyl LP, with a replica of the original cover—a tinted contact sheet with 30 photos of Gould from the sessions, one for each variation—is included for good measure.

The key to it all is a 278-page hardbound, trilingual book—a superb, lavishly illustrated resource... Most crucially, the text leads you through the session, providing a score and a listing of every take, with the chosen ones printed in red, and transcriptions of Gould’s and Scott’s between-takes comments....

See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hearing-glenn-gould-play-goldberg-variations-anew-1506962736
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