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Besides being gifted on a motor/physical level? And besides
his early training and hard work?

On another thread, it was mentioned he was taught to
not lose contact with the keys, with his fingers.

I was once taught that for fastest trilling, you should
not unnecessarily lift your fingers off from the keys, so
this would support the same idea.

Be an organist.
How can one possibly not lose contact with the keys when playing??
A trill is a very specific technical problem where not losing contact seems correct.
I think the not losing contact with the keys is a point of sensation over reality. Of course you break contact with the keys at times, otherwise you wouldn't be able to move around on the keyboard, but the sensation should be that you're at one with the key. It's more that you should aim to be touching the key before you play it, which isn't always possible either.

Glenn Gould's exemplary technique? Well, personally, I think it's more to do with his outstanding brain. He really thought about what he was playing, broke it down so that he knew it almost anatomically, before setting out to perform it.

He also practised very slowly and methodically.

He was obviously gifted with a high-speed brain and worked very hard to keep it working through his life.

Some people don't like Glenn Gould, they find his playing too idiosyncratic, but that in itself is not a comment on his ability or genius.
Glenn Gould couldn't express everything through his voice, so his fingers had to take over. That's the secret to his technique ... that is his technique.
Here is an interesting article on the subject: http://www.handoc.com/documents/gould_tubiana20001.pdf

I would caution anyone from attempting to emulate his technique. He was plagued by medical and physical problems.
In addition to the above, he had his piano tweaked to give it a more harpsichord-like sound.
He did plenty of tweaking himself. It drove the techs mad. There are recordings with double notes (rebounding) where he obviously went a tweak too far!
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.
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
There are recordings with double notes (rebounding) where he obviously went a tweak too far!


He screwed up the back checks. Everybody does the first time they mess with back checks. They're one of the most difficult things to do right in regulation.

Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
There are recordings with double notes (rebounding) where he obviously went a tweak too far!


He screwed up the back checks. Everybody does the first time they mess with back checks. They're one of the most difficult things to do right in regulation.

According to Hafner it was brought about by 'Gould's demand for hair-trigger action and lightning-fast repetition.'
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.



Is there proof that his stroke was caused by his
self-medications?

IIRC, his mother died of a stroke too, so it ran in
the family.
Your man had several doctors all prescribing medications without any knowledge of each other.
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.





I do not take seriously those who criticize Gould.
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Your man had several doctors all prescribing medications without any knowledge of each other.


That's true, but it doesn't mean he wouldn't have had the
stroke without the medications.

Strokes ran in his family, so it might have happened anyways.
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

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!

Gould's often extreme tempo choices certainly leave him open to criticism. In my experience, opinions of Gould by highly knowledgeable musicians vary greatly with quite a few on the negative side.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's not actually about technical ability.
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.
Fantastic is a good description of his playing but in my book that's not a good thing. Interpretation also requires substance.
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.
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 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.

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.
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.

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....

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

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.
Is there a secret to any pianist's technique, other than his musical vision ?
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.
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....
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.
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.
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
Originally Posted by Paul678
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
Paul,

You are obviously not a professional musician. You are merely another Gouldie trying to gain hierarchy with a pissing 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....

Seriously guys? grin
Let's knock it off on the fighting and insults, ok?

If you can't stop I can easily arrange for you to stop. Get my drift?
I find it utterly bizarre that Gould brings about such strong feelings. Just like any other performer, I enjoy some facets of his playing and not others, and yet I find that this fight over Gould is far more common than it should it be. Why is it that no other performer seems to inspire such passionate difference of opinion?
Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by Paul678

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

Seriously guys? grin


Whomever can light a cigarette from the strings, wins!
Originally Posted by anamnesis
I find it utterly bizarre that Gould brings about such strong feelings. Just like any other performer, I enjoy some facets of his playing and not others, and yet I find that this fight over Gould is far more common than it should it be. Why is it that no other performer seems to inspire such passionate difference of opinion?


I think this simply owes to his idiosyncrasies. Performers who go against the grain or have unusual approaches are polarizing because those who follow them have a special affinity or connection to their minds and souls.

Gould was a very unusual sort of fellow and usual sorts tend to congregate and connect with him in that way. The connection does run on more channels than simply that of his musicianship, and that is quite to be expected because musicians are channels who bring you into their emotional world. In a way, attacking his musicianship can be seen as an attack on his soul, or the soul of someone who closely identifies with his unusual character.

Unusual types become defensive because they are often targets, and feel misunderstood. I don't have an emotional affinity for Mr. Gould's playing, but I do have one for his personality - it takes a strong soul and a strong will and a very capable mind to do what he did and I feel like I 'get' Gould that way. It mirrors my own individualistic approach to music.

Some musicians are that way. They are unconcerned with the opinions of other musicians and rely on other kinds of criteria for greatness besides simply just the technique and the sound. Sometimes music is a philosophical and spiritual enterprise. Gould is perhaps the most idiosyncratic pianist of them all. I think he did not care in the slightest about anyone who could be listening to his inner world. He laid his soul bare, in order to take him or leave him. Many fondly take him for that reason alone because it speaks so clearly to their own musical soul. That kind of bareness is a greatness unto itself.

Gould came to challenge us all and I rather appreciate him for it. If the only thing you valued is 'beauty in tone', you could select a few pianists and never listen to anything else. Gould is a deconstructionist who engages the intellect and probes the philosophical and the spiritual, all while bringing back into vogue that great neglected master Johann Sebastian Bach. I wonder what Bach will think when Gould sits down to play for him in heaven...

And yes, I agree his playing was often very dry, percussive, and harsh. He intentionally teased and tormented the ears of his listeners, with mixed results. It is very easy to find flaws and defects compared with what is popularly pleasant to hear. I do feel that he easily had the mind and the hands to go for the 'beautiful tone' and sound like yet another iteration in his generation of popular pianists, but his soul wanted otherwise.
Originally Posted by Roland The Beagle
Originally Posted by anamnesis
I find it utterly bizarre that Gould brings about such strong feelings. Just like any other performer, I enjoy some facets of his playing and not others, and yet I find that this fight over Gould is far more common than it should it be. Why is it that no other performer seems to inspire such passionate difference of opinion?


I think this simply owes to his idiosyncrasies. Performers who go against the grain or have unusual approaches are polarizing because those who follow them have a special affinity or connection to their minds and souls.

Gould was a very unusual sort of fellow and usual sorts tend to congregate and connect with him in that way. The connection does run on more channels than simply that of his musicianship, and that is quite to be expected because musicians are channels who bring you into their emotional world. In a way, attacking his musicianship can be seen as an attack on his soul, or the soul of someone who closely identifies with his unusual character.

Unusual types become defensive because they are often targets, and feel misunderstood. I don't have an emotional affinity for Mr. Gould's playing, but I do have one for his personality - it takes a strong soul and a strong will and a very capable mind to do what he did and I feel like I 'get' Gould that way. It mirrors my own individualistic approach to music.

Some musicians are that way. They are unconcerned with the opinions of other musicians and rely on other kinds of criteria for greatness besides simply just the technique and the sound. Sometimes music is a philosophical and spiritual enterprise. Gould is perhaps the most idiosyncratic pianist of them all. I think he did not care in the slightest about anyone who could be listening to his inner world. He laid his soul bare, in order to take him or leave him. Many fondly take him for that reason alone because it speaks so clearly to their own musical soul. That kind of bareness is a greatness unto itself.

Gould came to challenge us all and I rather appreciate him for it. If the only thing you valued is 'beauty in tone', you could select a few pianists and never listen to anything else. Gould is a deconstructionist who engages the intellect and probes the philosophical and the spiritual, all while bringing back into vogue that great neglected master Johann Sebastian Bach. I wonder what Bach will think when Gould sits down to play for him in heaven...

And yes, I agree his playing was often very dry, percussive, and harsh. He intentionally teased and tormented the ears of his listeners, with mixed results. It is very easy to find flaws and defects compared with what is popularly pleasant to hear. I do feel that he easily had the mind and the hands to go for the 'beautiful tone' and sound like yet another iteration in his generation of popular pianists, but his soul wanted otherwise.



He was quite a fantastic spirit, and he almost never played
a wrong note:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JXSfaAvafM&list=RD6JXSfaAvafM#t=27


It's not perfect, but possibly as perfect as a human can get it.


Last time I looked the Albert Hall was still there.

'...almost never played a wrong note'!? That puts him yards ahead of Cortot!
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Last time I looked the Albert Hall was still there.

'...almost never played a wrong note'!? That puts him yards ahead of Cortot!



Oh, sorry, I confused that with the Earls Court, which will
be demolished.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDBDBpQH5Hw

They are not going to tear down the Albert Hall! Albert wouldn't like that.
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
They are not going to tear down the Albert Hall! Albert wouldn't like that.

Definitely, Royal Albert won't like that. He wouldn't be amused at all.

Neither would the Beeb - how would Prommers prom in the BBC Proms every summer, without Royal Albert?
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.


My ears must be defective, too, because Gould's tone seems perfectly acceptable to me. And I think his recordings of Romantic repertoire are fine. It seems to me that it is a good thing to be able to enjoy his art, rather than not.

I have been a long term Gould "Groupie" since hearing him decades ago live in Montreal. He played publicly for only a few years afterwards so I consider myself privileged. I was so overwhelmed by his "Goldbergs" that my obssession jettisoned all ideas I had of becoming a composer ... and I dove headfirst into Baroque music ... even at one point studying harpsichord.

However years later I learned that Gould had a wicked sense of humor and wasn't above the occasional prank or two. And that he loathed Mozart.

Well a few months ago I ran across his recording of the Mozart Fantasy in D minor .... and it is so clearly a parody that I was torn between spasms of laughter over his clever disembowelment ... including tempo distortions and irrational detache sections .... and my dismay over the seriousness of the comments. Only ONE poster, besides myself seems to have gotten the joke. It's hilarious. Here's the llink below ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d07r_E_8Pc
Gould would also never play without his chair:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlAg-yL-FfY
I don't think Jonathan Baker's assessment of Glenn Gould is ridiculous. I think it's an honest and valid opinion. It's not one I share with him, but I can see where he's coming from.

Glenn Gould's sound to me is luminous and clear, but I can fully understand why some people would find it ugly and dry.

It's also true that he limited his repertoire. He didn't enjoy playing Mozart, for instance, but he played it. He didn't play much or any Rachmaninoff, his Brahms and Beethoven were completely idiosyncratic and his Bach actually was also heavily mannered.

I would say though, that with Glenn Gould, you were listening to Glenn Gould's take on Bach, or whatever he played, and that was very honest of him to do that. Glenn Gould was fully aware of the criticisms of his playing when he was alive, and my guess is that he just felt that there was no other way he could do it. He played the score as he saw it.

Personally I'm a Glenn Gould fan, but his playing is sometimes so far left-field, of course not everyone will like it. His recording of the Appassionata, for instance, to my ear, verges on the dull and uninspired, and seems mannered for the sake of it. Leonard Bernstein famously made a statement about his Brahms concerto before he took to the stage to perform it with him. It's fine.

The only thing that is stupid is when someone passes an opinion about a pianist, great or otherwise, who has been dead for more than 30 years, and someone else takes it as a personal insult.

I happen to know quite a few great pianists, not necessarily world famous although a couple are, and some of them love Glenn Gould, some of them have said 'I haven't heard one good performance from him'.

Glenn Gould himself wasn't all that interested in Horowitz, and thought that most of the music that Horowitz played wasn't that interesting because it wasn't contrapuntal. Now, I'd stick my neck out and say that's a narrow minded view - Gould himself was the most opinionated artist of his time.
Originally Posted by joe80
The only thing that is stupid is when someone passes an opinion about a pianist, great or otherwise, who has been dead for more than 30 years, and someone else takes it as a personal insult.
Exactly.
Originally Posted by joe80

It's also true that he limited his repertoire. He didn't enjoy playing Mozart, for instance, but he played it.


Who doesn't limit his repertoire? Whose Bach is not that particular musician's take on Bach? And is "didn't enjoy Mozart" really a criticism? Although I don't accept at face valuethe idea that Gould disliked Mozart, he might just as well have been making fun of the classical music public who "genuflect" before Mozart

In any case Gould's repertoire was not limited to Bach and slow interpretations of Brahms. An artist's repertoire is not limited to what he plays in public concerts or what he records.

I heard at a NYC public school near Union Square, I can't remember the name of the school, right near Dvorak's residence. The violinist Pamela Frank, the daughter of the pianist Claude Frank. She played a well-known piece to a rousing ovation, and after the break played a modern piece that was received very coldly by the audience. I remember having the impression that she said "that one was for you, and this one is for me". Maybe not so easy to affirm your artistic choices before hostile ears. I can't blame Gould for cultivating his interests out of the public eye.
Yes, you are correct. I completely apologize for the inappropriate language in my post. But I still stand by all my points.

However, Mr. Baker's post was not HIS "opinion"; it was just an old stereotypical opinion that he shares. All of his arguments are identical to those leveled at the pianist even while he still played concerts—so over 50 years ago. They are nothing new, and nothing that hasn't been sufficiently rebutted by myriad musicians, music lovers, and critics, including intellectuals such as Edward Said.

In fact, I highly recommend reading Said's essays about Gould. Illuminating.

Keep in mind that Ashkenazy is part of a massive business called classical music, whose ultimate goal is not the "recreation of our souls," as Bach put it, but rather the making of big money. When he claims that Gould or any other pianist fouled up a recording or performance, he's also implicitly saying, "attend my concerts, not his; buy my records, not his." For more on that, again, read Said's books of music criticism.

Originally Posted by bjorn of brekkukot

In fact, I highly recommend reading Said's essays about Gould. Illuminating.

Keep in mind that Ashkenazy is part of a massive business called classical music, whose ultimate goal is not the "recreation of our souls," as Bach put it, but rather the making of big money. When he claims that Gould or any other pianist fouled up a recording or performance, he's also implicitly saying, "attend my concerts, not his; buy my records, not his." For more on that, again, read Said's books of music criticism.


Yes, groupies do tend to stick together..... wink

Let's put it this way - if Ashkenazy wanted people to buy his recordings rather than any other pianists', he'd do the dirty on Richter (Rach etc), Gilels and everyone else who recorded Beethoven, Perahia and everyone else who recorded Mozart concertos....and so on. Not Gould - Ashkenazy hardly played or recorded any Bach until his old age.

In other words, he wasn't in competition with Gould. Now let's see, what does András Schiff and Angela Hewitt say about the great Glenn? grin
Originally Posted by bjorn of brekkukot
However, Mr. Baker's post was not HIS "opinion"; it was just an old stereotypical opinion that he shares. All of his arguments are identical to those leveled at the pianist even while he still played concerts—so over 50 years ago.
Someone's opinion doesn't have to be unique to that person to be his opinion. The fact that other people shared his opinion doesn't make it weaker...it makes it stronger.


Originally Posted by bjorn of brekkukot
They are nothing new, and nothing that hasn't been sufficiently rebutted by myriad musicians, music lovers, and critics, including intellectuals such as Edward Said.
Some love Gould and some don't. Whatever Said said, that was one man's opinion. That something was "sufficiently rebutted" is your opinion.


Originally Posted by bjorn of brekkukot
Keep in mind that Ashkenazy is part of a massive business called classical music, whose ultimate goal is not the "recreation of our souls," as Bach put it, but rather the making of big money. When he claims that Gould or any other pianist fouled up a recording or performance, he's also implicitly saying, "attend my concerts, not his; buy my records, not his." For more on that, again, read Said's books of music criticism.
I don't really think a pianist of Ashkenazy's stature would think that way at all. I'm sure he makes plenty of money and has great attendance at his concerts.

Finally, the single fact of Gould's often extreme choice of tempo alone opens him up to criticism by reasonable musicians.
De gustibus non est disputandum.
Originally Posted by TheHappyPianoMuse
I have been a long term Gould "Groupie" since hearing him decades ago live in Montreal. He played publicly for only a few years afterwards so I consider myself privileged. I was so overwhelmed by his "Goldbergs" that my obssession jettisoned all ideas I had of becoming a composer ... and I dove headfirst into Baroque music ... even at one point studying harpsichord.

However years later I learned that Gould had a wicked sense of humor and wasn't above the occasional prank or two. And that he loathed Mozart.

Well a few months ago I ran across his recording of the Mozart Fantasy in D minor .... and it is so clearly a parody that I was torn between spasms of laughter over his clever disembowelment ... including tempo distortions and irrational detache sections .... and my dismay over the seriousness of the comments. Only ONE poster, besides myself seems to have gotten the joke. It's hilarious. Here's the llink below ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d07r_E_8Pc


That IS hilarious! I've listened to a few colleagues perform this Fantasy but Gould takes the cake. I want to present to them as the 'model' they should follow.

I think if Gould were alive to read these posts he would be mildly pleased that his legacy is still ruffling some feathers.
Originally Posted by joe80
I don't think Jonathan Baker's assessment of Glenn Gould is ridiculous. I think it's an honest and valid opinion. It's not one I share with him, but I can see where he's coming from.


I think there was a bit of an issue about "tone" - not Gould's tone, but the tone of the post. Sometimes people assert their opinions as if they were fact, and do it in a way that grates some other people's sensibilities.

Yes, we all know (or we should) that many things said here are mere opinion. But how those opinions are presented does make a big difference, IMO, and it seemed to me that the opinions in question were presented in a way intended to inflame Gould's fans. In a word, it was a form of trolling.




Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by joe80
I don't think Jonathan Baker's assessment of Glenn Gould is ridiculous. I think it's an honest and valid opinion. It's not one I share with him, but I can see where he's coming from.


I think there was a bit of an issue about "tone" - not Gould's tone, but the tone of the post. Sometimes people assert their opinions as if they were fact, and do it in a way that grates some other people's sensibilities.

Yes, we all know (or we should) that many things said here are mere opinion. But how those opinions are presented does make a big difference, IMO, and it seemed to me that the opinions in question were presented in a way intended to inflame Gould's fans. In a word, it was a form of trolling.
Although I think a few IMO's or "I thinks" are helpful when expressing an opinion, the fact is that very few posters(except myself)use these regularly. I didn't get the same impression as you got about the tone of the post at all.

I did think the tone of some of the posters who replied to the post critical of Gould did so with an extremely inappropriate tone.
- well of course everyone limits their repertoire, because there is only so much we can possibly learn.

What I mean is that he specialised his repertoire.
I think technique is all in the brain and inner ear. Purely physical observations about any pianist's technique are moot, IMO.
If we can't agree on anything else, one thing is for certain: Gould understood the recording process.

Of course he had a fantastic technique.

Irrelevant.

So did Feinberg, who's WTC Gould FOR SURE internalized. Every bit as dazzling as Gould's.

It's about the THINKING. Not the technique.

I love Gould. I love his GV, all three. I love his Beethoven PC cycle. I love his Partitas. The best recording, and the best interpretation, I've ever had the pleasure of hearing.

I HATE his WTC, however. Richter... Feinberg.... Any day. Much more risk-taking. So much more spontaneous.

His Beethoven? Sue me. I love what he does with the Sonatas.

And the Concerti? Listen to Gould's Beethoven PC 1! The best recording ever made, with Gould's Cadenzas. Absolutely fantastic.

But it's all a matter of taste, isn't it?
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