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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:37 am 
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By the way, Monica...I noticed you wondering a while back if Gould played Chopin, and though you might have already looked it up, Wikipedia quotes him saying that he played Chopin once or twice a year, "for himself", but that it "didn't convince" him.

No, I have not heard Gould playing Chopin. I did a quick search online but found nothing. Next time I’m at the library, I’ll see if they have any CD’s. I would still like to hear how he plays it.

Interesting about changing the concertos. I’ve heard when orchestra parts were added to Chopin pieces, but not his concertos pared down to smaller-sized groups. I think I can almost hear that sort of arrangement. The second movement of the first concerto would be maybe even more beautiful (if possible) with just a couple strings, cello, maybe a flute or a harp. As long as that stupid horn player that sounds like a goose on my Music Minus One cd is not in it. :lol:

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The wealthy youth in Paris and the surrounding area were I'm sure quite willing to pay exorbitant prices for his guidance,

I would give anything to go back in time and be one of those students. Of course I would have to do quite an acting job that would convince him to accept me as a student since I’m not a virtuoso, or from a wealthy or royal family. Maybe if I tell him I’ll cook for him too, maybe clean his apartment, wash his clothes, massage his hands and arms (oh, does that feel great!) etc…I could write a book with all the fantasies that pop up in my mind. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:44 am 
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pianolady wrote:
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By the way, Monica...I noticed you wondering a while back if Gould played Chopin, and though you might have already looked it up, Wikipedia quotes him saying that he played Chopin once or twice a year, "for himself", but that it "didn't convince" him.

No, I have not heard Gould playing Chopin. I did a quick search online but found nothing. Next time I’m at the library, I’ll see if they have any CD’s. I would still like to hear how he plays it.


I think Gould did not like Chopin's music much and says in one interview regarding making recordings. "If they say I should make a sugary Chopin recording, I would simply refuse."

On the other hand, a recording of Chopin's op.10 no.2 was found in his private archive and I have that on a DVD at home. It is really incredible how fast, distinct and clear he plays it. Absolutely crazy! Anyone else heard it?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:00 am 
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Even if there would be a recording of GG playing Chopin, I would not be interested in.

I really do admire the technical ability Glenn Gould had, and his manner to phrase different voices for contrapunctual stuff. Also he not only could play very dynamically, but foremost he articulated much. That means, no endless legato playing, instead all shades of articulation from legato to staccato. That is what fits so well in my opinion especially for the music of the high baroque time, especially Bach.

What I don't like in his playing is that his articulation and dynamics are kind of arbitrary in the sense that I often can't draw a connection of his articulation to the musical content. It sounds like "now I like to play softer and softer" and that he does perfectly. I never experience that how he plays comes from the stomach, or that the musical expression is driven by feelings.
Of course he is in perfect control of how he plays, flawless in every direction, but anyhow it all sounds kind of cold and steril. Can't describe it better, but me (and my wife too) cannot listen to more than a couple of WTC items from him.

So instead having a feeling of getting undressed by his playing (what Monica describes) I get more a feeling of taking an addional pullover because I feel chilly because of the cold playing. Now you know why I am not interested to hear Chopin played by GG...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:06 am 
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On the other hand, a recording of Chopin's op.10 no.2 was found in his private archive and I have that on a DVD at home. It is really incredible how fast, distinct and clear he plays it. Absolutely crazy! Anyone else heard it?


I did, and it is stunning how he could play in such a neat and detached way at that speed. Yet, it sounds awfully like some Czerny thingies. By the way, Gould recorded Chopin's Third Sonata for a CBC broadcast. Very interesting in some parts, but utterly unidiomatic.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:38 am 
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Olaf, your assessment of Gould’s playing being cold is something I have yet to decide for myself, since I haven’t been into all this for long. Now that I’m learning a Bach piece, I have much to figure out.

And at first, I was a little surprised by what you said here. Then again, I think you have a romantic nature, so if you think Gould plays unromantically, then what you say makes sense. However, on this particular aria that I linked on an earlier post, he plays very romantically. And when you compare it with Barenboim’s version, it is like these two men switched playing styles - you should put on the sweater when listening to Barenboim’s aria and take it off when listening to Gould’s.

I wish we could hear how Chopin played Bach.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:46 pm 
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I'd like to hear Bach play Chopin. Yeah, that's right. On a piano with a sustain pedal and everything! :shock:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:34 pm 
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Hello pianolady,

There is a CD recording of chopins third piano sonata by GG. I have it. It is not what one would expect from a normal Chopin interpretation. Apart from some passages that have an extraordinary beauty, I think it shows in total that Glenn did not appreciate Chopin.

About your wrist problem. I believe very strongly that every pianist has to develop his own physical approach towards the instrument. You cannot simply adopt a physical approach form someone else (like your teacher or anyone else) and make it your own. And for finding your own approach you have to do a lot of experimenting. And i think Glenn Gould is a great example of where such experimenting can lead to. He developed a physical approach towards the instrument that was so completely in line with his own physical and mental characteristics, that it allowed him to play the most difficult pieces in an almost flawless manner. That makes great sense to me. And i believe that many of the solution he found will prove to be of value for many pianists, as they have been to me.

I understand your fascination with Glenn's interpretation of the Goldberg variations. On Youtube you have seen his latest interpration. The one he recorded only one or two years before he died. That one is not only fabulous in it's technique. It is pure genius in it's music. I must have heard it some 30 times by now. And it never fails to amaze me. To me, the Goldberg variations are, as a composition, in itself a momument of human artistry. Played by Glenn Gould, the monument comes to live and shines with a livelyhood and warmth and is testimony to what human culture can achieve.

By the way, i will post my interpretation of the French Overture of Bach in a few weeks from now. I recorded it a few weeks ago in the medieval townhall of the city of Naarden, here in Holland. Currently i am in the process of producing a DVD about it (on Comenius, Bach and the city of Naarden). I consider it my revival as a pianist (since i negelected the piano for almost 15 years). I just have to discuss some copyright matters before being able to upload it to the piano society in some form or the other.

Greetings from Peter


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:57 am 
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pianolady wrote:
However, on this particular aria that I linked on an earlier post, he plays very romantically. And when you compare it with Barenboim’s version, it is like these two men switched playing styles - you should put on the sweater when listening to Barenboim’s aria and take it off when listening to Gould’s.


Yes, I watched both the Barenboim and GG video of the aria, and after that almost all GG videos on Youtube. Undoubtly GG was a great artist and kind of reinventor to find the beauty in articulation in polyphonic pieces. And I agree that the aria is played by GG with extraordinary beauty. I like the Barenboim take too, but I prefer the GG version. GG plays it very slow, and very, very soft but nevertheless great voicing. That shows great technique with unbelievable key control. But playing very soft + delicate and playing romantically are still different things to me (anyhow there is no need to play Bach in a romantic manner for me, or to play Chopin in baroque manner ...). I agree, that aria cannot be called cold playing from GG (because it is very soft and not that staccato played), but exeptions prove the rule. :)

Maybe I have more of a romantic nature, however the longer I do play Bach on organ or piano, the longer I try to long for strictly different interpretations whether it is Bach or Chopin e.g.
For a Bach fugue (many of the preludes are polyphonic pieces too) it is necessary to show the beauty in the different voices in parallel. The "tools" I see in different dynamics combined with strong articulation. The articulation especially but also the melody bows well choosen in connection to the rhythmic metrum of the piece. But in difference to the romantic manner not so in sound revelling, pedaled legato playing, or rubato, or melody bows neglecting the rhythmic structure.

I think the main difference of the high baroque music and romantic music is that the one has polyphonic character, the other homophonic character (there are expections of course, only as a rule of thumb), so the interpretation style should act accordingly.

pianolady wrote:
I wish we could hear how Chopin played Bach.


Yeah, but much more I wish we could hear how Chopin played Chopin, and how Bach played Bach. Or even more, how they improvised in their own style ...

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:50 am 
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A lot of good stuff in the previous posts. I'm going to have find that recording of Gould playing the Chopin sonata, because now I'm very curious. And I think experimenting with one's hand position to find what is right is the most logical. I have yet to find what works best for me.

And then there's playing staccato vs. legato with Bach (and everything in between). A person could study nothing but that for a long time. I have a lesson today and have a feeling that we may spend the whole hour on just the first line of that WTC prelude/fugue.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:36 pm 
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I must jump in here again (seems like everyone has something to say about Gould) and add that what I believe Gould foremost gave the world were interpretations which are crystal clear. Every note is always perfectly audible and given equal significance (the reason he was able to do so was his very individual technique). The result of every note being audible is a new dimension in music and most important, in Bach's music and we have never heard it like that before. Not only are all keys audible, he also succeeds creating an enormous tension in the music because he plays very hard, bony and detached. My mind always want something more after I have listened to Gould and that is why I always go back and listen over and over again. In direct opposite to Olaf, I can listen endlessly to any of his Bach music (he recorded all Bach's keyboard music and I have it all). It touches me so deeply and I have never heard anyone played Bach more beautifully.

For you Monica, I have recorded his Chopin 10/2 from the DVD I have but you have to stand the talking in the middle of it. As we discussed before, it is crazy fast and for example Pollini ends up at 1:20 from that he hits the first key to the last, Gould is under 0:55 !!! :shock:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 7:54 pm 
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Good grief! He's a psycho.
I don't whether to laugh, cry, applaud or throw up. :?: :lol:

Pete


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:10 am 
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Oh my God! Pete already said everything I would have said. Is that for real? Robert, you're right about every note sounding. He is like a robot. Maybe the tape is sped up. And do you think he is talking at the same time that he is playing? LOL :lol:
Thanks for showing me that! :wink: Wow!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:01 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Oh my God! Pete already said everything I would have said. Is that for real? Robert, you're right about every note sounding. He is like a robot. Maybe the tape is sped up. And do you think he is talking at the same time that he is playing? LOL :lol:
Thanks for showing me that! :wink: Wow!

The text at the end says it is a private recording from 1948 so he was only 16 years old at the time of this recording which makes it even more incredible!

The clip is from the film named "Hereafter" by Glenn Gould and this is the best film I have of him from my collection of four. But I am not sure that the voice is authentic, rather I doubt it.

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