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Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
sophial #2380459 01/31/15 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by sophial
Originally Posted by bjorn of brekkukot
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
The digital clarity of Gould's technique is not that hard to achieve if that is all one is aiming for. Keep fingers close to keys, mostly detaché with emphasis on evenness of sound/dynamics/touch, and play on a piano with quick light action and bright thin tone.

Gould did not produce a beautiful sound - something pianists from Anton Rubinstein to Van Cliburn were preoccupied with - but employed a thin and dry sound. That eliminated a tremendous amount of technical-artistic work that other pianists undergo to develop a kaleidoscope of timbres, sonorities, projections, and coloristic pedal effects. Gould's elimination of those many techniques 'liberated' him to cultivate a comparatively narrow and one-dimensional technique.

Gould was emotionally incapable of engaging the vast Romantic repertoire extending from Beethoven through Rachmaninoff with only rare and unsatisfactory exceptions, and was evidently unable to sustain the psychic stress that the emotionally convulsive Romantics necessitate. Although he recorded the complete Mozart sonatas he publicly stated his distaste for Mozart - even that was too much for him. This emotional detachment and withdrawal defined his technique and repertoire choices.

Gould's reputation rests on his Bach playing, all of it technically brilliant, but often shallow and heavily mannered. But Gould was always capable of surprises, if not profundity.

Whether or not Gould was a case of Asperger's syndrome is debatable (a case could be made) but he withdrew from public performing (still more detachment) became increasingly paranoid and medicated himself to death at the early age of fifty.


Congratulations, you have regurgitated the stereotypical anti-Gould arguments very well.

"Gould did not produce a beautiful sound."

Excuse me? Are you here to dictate your narrow and romantically biased subjective view of aural aesthetics to everyone else?

"Comparatively narrow and one-dimensional technique."

There are more dimensions in Gould's Bach alone than most modern pianists of romantic repertory ever manage.

"Emotionally incapable of engaging the vast Romantic repertoire extending from Beethoven through Rachmaninoff with only rare and unsatisfactory exceptions."

Have you heard his Brahms, by chance?

"This emotional detachment and withdrawal defined his technique and repertoire choices. "

Or maybe he was just one of the few pianists brave enough to confront repertory that troubled him, in order to find out why? When most pianists just ignore what they "don't like" without questioning it further? Have you read his essays, by chance?

"But Gould was always capable of surprises, if not profundity."

I have listened to Gould for twenty years and discovery something new every time. If that isn't profundity, what is?

Strip away your snobby and pedantic tone, and all that's left is a bunch of nonsense.


+1 Thank you for an excellent and thoughtful response to a ridiculous assessment of a great artist.
I thought the response was a rather obnoxious and sarcastic attack because of the poster's choice of words. Instead of just presenting his contrasting opinions, he attacks the poster who criticized Gould.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/31/15 01:45 PM.
Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
pianoloverus #2380467 01/31/15 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Paul678
If you notice on Johnathan Baker's website, there are absolutely NO samples of his playing.Probably because he himself doesn't know how to play 1/1000
of the accuracy of Gould!
This is a pretty nasty post. Just look at his bio and one can see he is highly accomplished.


How can you tell he's a good player by just looking at his
bio?

Schools and awards don't mean anything....it's your actual
ability that counts.

He likely doesn't even come close to Gould's technical ability.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380492 01/31/15 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul678
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Paul678
If you notice on Johnathan Baker's website, there are absolutely NO samples of his playing.Probably because he himself doesn't know how to play 1/1000
of the accuracy of Gould!
This is a pretty nasty post. Just look at his bio and one can see he is highly accomplished.


How can you tell he's a good player by just looking at his
bio?

Schools and awards don't mean anything....it's your actual
ability that counts.

He likely doesn't even come close to Gould's technical ability.
To get into those schools, study with those teachers, perform the concerts, and win those prizes surely indicates something. All those things are based on ability.

He may not have Gould's technical ability, at least in the type of music Gould played, but that would be the case for most professional pianists. But he's certainly at the level where he's capable of making knowledgeable(not meaning the incontrovertible truth) criticisms of Gould's playing.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380498 01/31/15 02:52 PM
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It's not actually about technical ability.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
pianoloverus #2380501 01/31/15 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Paul678
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Paul678
If you notice on Johnathan Baker's website, there are absolutely NO samples of his playing.Probably because he himself doesn't know how to play 1/1000
of the accuracy of Gould!
This is a pretty nasty post. Just look at his bio and one can see he is highly accomplished.


How can you tell he's a good player by just looking at his
bio?

Schools and awards don't mean anything....it's your actual
ability that counts.

He likely doesn't even come close to Gould's technical ability.
To get into those schools, study with those teachers, perform the concerts, and win those prizes surely indicates something. All those things are based on ability.

He may not have Gould's technical ability, at least in the type of music Gould played, but that would be the case for most professional pianists. But he's certainly at the level where he's capable of making knowledgeable(not meaning the incontrovertible truth) criticisms of Gould's playing.


All that means nothing to me. I've met plenty of mediocre
PhDs and such.

I want to see a video of what he thinks is better playing.

That's where the rubber meets the road.

Gould was a fantastic player.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380507 01/31/15 03:12 PM
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Fantastic is a good description of his playing but in my book that's not a good thing. Interpretation also requires substance.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380512 01/31/15 03:28 PM
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bjor -

You make ad hominem attacks of "snobbism" against me without making a substantive argument in favor of your tin god. That is a diversionary tactic that does not work with me. There are aspects of Gould's playing I find very interesting and I appreciate hearing them, but he was no genius. Chopin was a genius, Mozart was a genius, a creative force demonstrates genius and it takes more than nimble fingers to win that encomium.

Yes, I have heard Gould's interpretation of the Brahms D minor Concerto and it is, as Ashkenazy said, wholly unacceptable, and Bernstein rejected it outright to the audience. You consider Ashkenazy and Bernstein to also be "snobs"? If so, I am grateful to share their company.

Paul -

You are now referring to me in the third person when I am right here. It seems I hit a sensitive nerve and you are reeling from the pain. That was not my intent.

You fail to discuss the specifics of my response to your inquiry regarding Gould's brand of technique. It was, after all, your inquiry and one would assume you wanted a clinical assessment, but it turns out you wanted breathless adoration for your idol. Perhaps if you post comments with the official Glenn Gould Fan Club you will receive the sort of responses this religion of yours requires.

Like "bjorn" you do not write as a professional musician but as a hero-worshipper of musical idols, in this case, Saint Glenn, and it turns out I am a heretic being readied for the pyre.

Bjorn & Paul, please pull yourselves together and write as gentlemen-musicians and not as rabid fans.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380532 01/31/15 04:09 PM
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Let's stop treating Gould as if he is a god (or God wink ).

His Bach my be revered by some, but he played (i.e. recorded) Mozart just to show - in his opinion - what a bad composer Wolfie is, rattling everything off unfeelingly. Has he never heard a great singer sing one of his operatic arias?

He really can be perverse in the extreme, so let's not put him on a pedestal.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380561 01/31/15 05:38 PM
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I know a teacher who once said to me that "god put Glenn Gould on this earth to show us how beautiful the piano can be, but when you are studying the piano just forget that Glenn Gould ever existed."

Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
a substantive argument


If I may, I don't quite see the content of your criticism of Gould, except that he was not Rubenstein and that Bernstein "snobbed" him and that he died at 50.


Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380575 01/31/15 06:15 PM
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Hi all,

I am a fan of Gould. His Bach, obviously, but I also enjoy his Brahms, his Wagner, his Grieg, his Scriabin, and even *gasp* his Chopin.

*ducks stones and rotten tomatoes*

And yet, I fundamentally agree with Mr. Baker's opinion that he didn't necessarily produce a beautiful sound. I think it just wasn't a concern for him and that his aesthetic simply called for a kind of directness that for me feels very black and white, or when he expands a little, in varying shades of grey. I think what most of us take as pianistic color was anathema to him.

When I think of Gould's strengths, I think of his mastery of structure and of texture, the unerring sense of timing, the transparency, the astonishing ability to make curves out of dots.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380578 01/31/15 06:20 PM
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landorrano -

The teacher you once knew had values different from mine, and that is the nice thing about variety and freedom of expression. Anyone with ears can hear that Gould did not pursue tonal beauty by any definition - not that he was required to - and he avidly sought out pianos reminiscent of the early piano timbre. One wonders why he simply did not cut to the chase and play the harpsichord as did Wanda Landowka. As for the teacher you once knew who advised to "forget that Glenn Gould ever existed" - I have done that perfectly well - except when one of his fans around here goes on a campaign to deify him.

My attitude toward Gould is the same as Lang - I really don't mind either of them at all - it is their hopelessly fanatic fans I mind.

Originally Posted by landorrano
If I may, I don't quite see the content of your criticism of Gould, except that he was not Rubenstein and that Bernstein "snobbed" him and that he died at 50.


If you read again, Landorrano, I am addressing poor Paul's question about the "secret" of Gould's technique - and there is no secret at all, as I explained. That should answer your concern.

And if you "don't quite see the content of your criticism" it is because I am not interested in criticizing Gould, per se, but briefly assessing the method and reason for his technique in relation to the question initially posited, and that question was answered. Paul does not articulate his disagreement with my brief analysis, only his fury that I failed to genuflect on cue. I also forgot to bring incense and Holy Water.


Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380587 01/31/15 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
bjor -

You make ad hominem attacks of "snobbism" against me without making a substantive argument in favor of your tin god. That is a diversionary tactic that does not work with me. There are aspects of Gould's playing I find very interesting and I appreciate hearing them, but he was no genius. Chopin was a genius, Mozart was a genius, a creative force demonstrates genius and it takes more than nimble fingers to win that encomium.

Yes, I have heard Gould's interpretation of the Brahms D minor Concerto and it is, as Ashkenazy said, wholly unacceptable, and Bernstein rejected it outright to the audience. You consider Ashkenazy and Bernstein to also be "snobs"? If so, I am grateful to share their company.

Paul -

You are now referring to me in the third person when I am right here. It seems I hit a sensitive nerve and you are reeling from the pain. That was not my intent.

You fail to discuss the specifics of my response to your inquiry regarding Gould's brand of technique. It was, after all, your inquiry and one would assume you wanted a clinical assessment, but it turns out you wanted breathless adoration for your idol. Perhaps if you post comments with the official Glenn Gould Fan Club you will receive the sort of responses this religion of yours requires.

Like "bjorn" you do not write as a professional musician but as a hero-worshipper of musical idols, in this case, Saint Glenn, and it turns out I am a heretic being readied for the pyre.

Bjorn & Paul, please pull yourselves together and write as gentlemen-musicians and not as rabid fans.


Reeling from the Pain? Lol! That's very funny!

I never said Gould was a genius. I save the word "genius" for
composers like Bach.

However, you cannot deny Gould had fantastic technique, and made
very few errors in his playing.

Again, I want to hear recordings of YOU, Mr. Baker, so you can enlighten us about how the piano should be played.

You call yourself a piano player and instructor, and yet you have no recordings or Youtube videos? That's most likely because you are afraid to show your poor technique, so I will not hold my breathe waiting for you to post something.

And in regards to Lang Lang, you are the typical jealous musician who wishes they could play 1/1000th the ability of Lang, and who are jealous of his incredible success, which you will do anything to disparage. You should keep your mouth shut unless you can provide recordings that are superior to his. Again, I ain't holding my breath....


Last edited by Paul678; 01/31/15 06:35 PM.
Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380589 01/31/15 06:36 PM
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Paul,

You are obviously not a professional musician. You are merely another Gouldie trying to gain hierarchy with a ******* contest. I post here to talk with other musicians, and you are not a musician, so we have nothing to discuss.

JB


Last edited by Ken Knapp; 01/31/15 07:52 PM. Reason: Remove profanity. Let's express ourselves without profanity or vulgarity.
Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380592 01/31/15 06:38 PM
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Apparently I have defective ears, because as I write this I am listening to Gould's performances of Brahms' Op. 117 Intermezzi, and I am hearing beautiful tone and ample color.

And, to take just one other example, how anyone can listen to Gould's two performances of the Goldberg and not hear beauty of tone is beyond me.

If we're going to call any performers geniuses (and it seems we do that a lot), then Gould merits the title.

Postscript: I am a musician.

Last edited by Eldridge; 01/31/15 06:39 PM.




Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380595 01/31/15 06:40 PM
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Is there a secret to any pianist's technique, other than his musical vision ?

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
landorrano #2380598 01/31/15 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Is there a secret to any pianist's technique, other than his musical vision ?


There are only 'secrets' to those who do not understand. But there are always methods and those can be analyzed.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Jonathan Baker #2380599 01/31/15 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
Paul,

You are obviously not a professional musician. You are merely another Gouldie trying to gain hierarchy with a ******* contest. I post here to talk with other musicians, and you are not a musician, so we have nothing to discuss.




Oh no, it's YOU who are not a professional musician.

A true professional would have videos and recordings and examples of their playing on their website.

You are probably living off an inheritance, or something like that.

And again, teaching piano is often the 2nd tier, backup career of the failed concert musician, which would be you. Only a disgruntled failed musician such as yourself would disparage Gould and Lang. I do not worship them...I can criticize performances of both them. But it's ok to recognize great musical ability when you are not insecure about your own.

I'd certainly play you under the table....

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Eldridge #2380607 01/31/15 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Eldridge
Apparently I have defective ears, because as I write this I am listening to Gould's performances of Brahms' Op. 117 Intermezzi, and I am hearing beautiful tone and ample color.

And, to take just one other example, how anyone can listen to Gould's two performances of the Goldberg and not hear beauty of tone is beyond me.

If we're going to call any performers geniuses (and it seems we do that a lot), then Gould merits the title.

Postscript: I am a musician.



There's nothing wrong with your ears at all:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD8i0jUmbF8

I prefer Bach myself, but I agree there is excellent tone and
color here. Something which Mr. Baker cannot achieve.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
Paul678 #2380613 01/31/15 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul678
Oh no, it's YOU who are not a professional musician.
And again, teaching piano is often the 2nd tier, backup career of the failed concert musician, which would be you. Only a disgruntled failed musician such as yourself would disparage Gould and Lang.
Only a very tiny percentage of professional musicians can make a living only from giving concerts. No more than 5% but it could be as low as 1%. The overwhelming percentage of professional musicians teach.

As far as Gould and Lang go, they have plenty of supporters and plenty of detractors. And their detractors do not criticize every other pianist who is able to make a living from concerts alone, so the idea that jealousy is the reason for criticism makes little sense. Gould and Lang are among the most polarizing figures in classical music. I have already mentioned one reason why some/many professional musicians do not like Gould.

Re: The "Secret" to Glen Gould's Awesome Technique?
pianoloverus #2380631 01/31/15 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Paul678
Oh no, it's YOU who are not a professional musician.
And again, teaching piano is often the 2nd tier, backup career of the failed concert musician, which would be you. Only a disgruntled failed musician such as yourself would disparage Gould and Lang.
Only a very tiny percentage of professional musicians can make a living only from giving concerts. No more than 5% but it could be as low as 1%. The overwhelming percentage of professional musicians teach.

As far as Gould and Lang go, they have plenty of supporters and plenty of detractors. And their detractors do not criticize every other pianist who is able to make a living from concerts alone, so the idea that jealousy is the reason for criticism makes little sense. Gould and Lang are among the most polarizing figures in classical music. I have already mentioned one reason why some/many professional musicians do not like Gould.


If it's really something like 1%, then that's even more reason for a piano teacher to be jealous that their concert career did not take off.

Ok, how about this: I'm jealous of Gould and Lang! I got the ***** to admit it, do you?

heck yeah, I'd like to have played the Royal Albert hall (while it was still there!), and Carnegie Hall! It's the apex of a Classical musician's dream career!

Some of my other favorite pianists: Yundi Li, Tatiana Nikolayeva

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjv4ESS2LqY

Last edited by Ken Knapp; 01/31/15 07:55 PM. Reason: Remove profanity. Let's express ourselves without profanity or vulgarity.
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