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Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
#1776118 10/24/11 09:10 AM
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From the Winter 1967 issue of Columbia Masterworks "Audition." These were promotional LPs sent to members of the Columbia Record Club, which featured spoken commentary by many of the artists represented. Although nearly everything by or about Gould has been reissued, this seven-minute talk on Beethoven has somehow fallen through the cracks.



Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776132 10/24/11 09:37 AM
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"In the Allegro portion of the movemnt, Beethoven derives both dynamic and rhythmic propulsion from the persistent tympani style tremolandos that chaperone that ill advised temptation with rubato that is the perpetual temptation of the right hand."

An example of Gouldspeak.

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776159 10/24/11 10:32 AM
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I like how he uses the last few minutes to tell everyone how bad the Appassionata is, underscored of course by his own performance. laugh


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Kreisler #1776261 10/24/11 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I like how he uses the last few minutes to tell everyone how bad the Appassionata is, underscored of course by his own performance. laugh

If it's so bad, wouldn't he want it at least to go by faster? grin

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776282 10/24/11 02:11 PM
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I really can't stand Glenn Gould on any level.

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
ando #1776461 10/24/11 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
I really can't stand Glenn Gould on any level.


I think I like you. I won't go quite THAT far, but not many pianists (or musicians in general) have ever grated me the way Gould did. Genius? Undoubtedly so, but he misses the boat entirely more often than not.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
stores #1776491 10/24/11 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by ando
I really can't stand Glenn Gould on any level.


I think I like you. I won't go quite THAT far, but not many pianists (or musicians in general) have ever grated me the way Gould did. Genius? Undoubtedly so, but he misses the boat entirely more often than not.


Ahh, stores! I am finally happy to disagree with you! (Of course, "undoubtedly," you have listened to more Gould more closesly than I, BUT,) Gould had an incredible way of discovering things that the composers of their own works may not have seen and/or have been able to bring out. He was an artistic visionary who had an insightful imagination and the wonderful ability to express through his fingers what his mind saw into the pieces he played. I grant you that the way he expressed the theme of Mozart's Sonata in A maj (K331) is grating... but, as a performance of "look at it this way," I love where he took the piece! And yes, he plays parts of the Appassionata almost like he hates it, but it sure causes you to hear things in it that you might not have heard before.

Well, o.k. On second thought, maybe I agree with you. I don't know. He sure understood what he was doing, though...


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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Cinnamonbear #1776510 10/24/11 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
He sure understood what he was doing, though...


I'm not sure he understood what Beethoven or Mozart (or Chopin) were doing, though. smile


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776516 10/24/11 07:57 PM
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Thanks for posting this. To what other posters are saying here, I'm a GG freak -- own every (reissued) recording -- and even I'm not a fan of this Beethoven. Even here, though, I think he's funny.

Come on people, lighten up. The commentary and the playing are both hilarious.

Last edited by qualia; 10/24/11 08:02 PM.

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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Kreisler #1776519 10/24/11 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
He sure understood what he was doing, though...


I'm not sure he understood what Beethoven or Mozart (or Chopin) were doing, though. smile


That's irrelevant.

grin


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Cinnamonbear #1776524 10/24/11 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear

Ahh, stores! I am finally happy to disagree with you! (Of course, "undoubtedly," you have listened to more Gould more closesly than I, BUT,) Gould had an incredible way of discovering things that the composers of their own works may not have seen and/or have been able to bring out. He was an artistic visionary who had an insightful imagination and the wonderful ability to express through his fingers what his mind saw into the pieces he played. I grant you that the way he expressed the theme of Mozart's Sonata in A maj (K331) is grating... but, as a performance of "look at it this way," I love where he took the piece! And yes, he plays parts of the Appassionata almost like he hates it, but it sure causes you to hear things in it that you might not have heard before.
All the above can be accomplished by turning the score upside down also.

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
qualia #1776531 10/24/11 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by qualia
Come on people, lighten up. The commentary and the playing are both hilarious.
But unless Gould is purposely trying to be funny why would want commentary on the Appassionata to be hilarious? Why would one ever want a performance of a Beethoven Sonata to be hilarious unless it was Beethoven's intention?

The commentary and performance is unintentionally hilarious.


Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
pianoloverus #1776538 10/24/11 08:23 PM
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I think it is, in part, meant to be funny. His take on Beethoven is genuine, but he sees these particular sonatas as partial failed works, exalted to the status of sacred cows by the music world. He sees them as unchecked outgrowths of Beethoven's ego, now licensed by the literati, who equal Beethoven's self-indulgence with their own.

Gould is trying to burst that bubble by accentuating the failures. And yes, comedy and lightness is the best tonic.

Does he succeed? No, not entirely. He misses some of the beauty, or rather, sublimity, in these pieces while making his argument. But his perspective is, nevertheless, instructive. And it's funny. (And meant to be!)


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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776543 10/24/11 08:31 PM
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His Bach is very good!



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Music is my best friend.


Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Cinnamonbear #1776550 10/24/11 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Gould had an incredible way of discovering things that the composers of their own works may not have seen and/or have been able to bring out.



Really? I do believe he thought he knew better than many composers and I've always felt he wished he'd been the composer at hand. Do you have an example you're thinking of? I'm interested to know what you're thinking of here.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
qualia #1776554 10/24/11 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by qualia
I think it is, in part, meant to be funny. His take on Beethoven is genuine, but he sees these particular sonatas as partial failed works, exalted to the status of sacred cows by the music world. He sees them as unchecked outgrowths of Beethoven's ego, now licensed by the literati, who equal Beethoven's self-indulgence with their own.
Then it's unfortunate that Gould doesn't appreciate music almost universally considered among the greatest ever written. Even if Gould's opinion was correct, I can't possibly see how that justifies playing the music in a mocking way. That seems like the height of arrogance when, in fact, Gould was a grain of sand on a large beach compared to Beethoven. I don't call that humorous...I'd call it infantile. Why would anyone play what they thought of as "partially failed" works?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/24/11 08:56 PM.
Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
stores #1776557 10/24/11 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Genius? Undoubtedly so, but he misses the boat entirely more often than not.

It seems to me like he took an entirely different boat sometimes.


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Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
Ian_G #1776560 10/24/11 08:55 PM
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For me, all of Gould's arrogance, his absurd interpretations, his hyper-academic explanations and mannerisms that make me sometimes cringe... all of these I forgive and forget, because of his Bach. And not even all his Bach. Let's say just 50% of it. But that 50% of his Bach is, for me, completely unparalleled, and makes Gould, for me, one of the greatest artists ever.

-Jason

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
beet31425 #1776565 10/24/11 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
For me, all of Gould's arrogance, his absurd interpretations, his hyper-academic explanations and mannerisms that make me sometimes cringe... all of these I forgive and forget, because of his Bach. And not even all his Bach. Let's say just 50% of it....

+1

Or rather, plus about 40%, because I'd say ~90%. smile

Re: Rare: Glenn Gould on Beethoven Sonatas (1967)
ando #1776566 10/24/11 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
I really can't stand Glenn Gould on any level.


I feel the same way; there was something ugly about his psyche. A clinical and cold persona, and someone who seemed to think he was right about everything(like the cliche of the scientist). It's an odd characteristic for an artist.

And his interpretations seemed intentionally at odds with whatever prevailing interpretation, an extreme rebuttal of sorts.

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