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The master, on the master...


kad

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While you're at YouTube, search for "Gould plays Goldberg Variations var.26-30." As you're watching him play the 26th variation, remember that at that point he's already played the Aria and 25 previous variations!

 

While I have high respect for the Keith Emersons and Keith Jarretts of today, my jaw drops when I watch Glenn Gould.

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Interesting Gould quote, especially in context of the continuing debate on piano action:

 

"the piano is not an instrument for which I have any great love as such... [but] I have played it all my life and it is the best vehicle I have to express my ideas." In the case of Bach, Gould admitted, " fixed the action in some of the instruments I play onand the piano I use for all recordings is now so fixedso that it is a shallower and more responsive action than the standard. It tends to have a mechanism which is rather like an automobile without power steering: you are in control and not it; it doesn't drive you, you drive it. This is the secret of doing Bach on the piano at all. You must have that immediacy of response, that control over fine definitions of things."[

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Kad,

 

Just a word on Gould. Not everyone in the piano world thinks Gould is the end-all in terms of Bach though I would say most do as far as I can gauge. Some pianists, I have been told by the guy I'm studying with, think he is alittle to precise and cold in terms of feel, stiff though 'perfect'. My jazz "coach", who also teaches Classical music prefers Richter to Gould on Bach.

 

When I was going through the classical phase of my jazz studies and playing alot of Bach he said you should listen to Gould and Richter. I did and I do see his point. But no one could deny Gould's perfection!

 

lb

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Originally posted by Legatoboy:

Kad,

 

Some think he is a little to precise and cold in terms of feel, stiff though 'perfect'.

Exactly. That's his trademark. Never too emotional. It may please some and bother others, just like more emotional pianists have the opposite effects on the listeners. That's the diversity of classical pianists. You have different characters to please everyone. But for Bach, Gould's way fits perfectly. That's why I believe he was one of the best for that type of music.
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Gould isn't for everyone - that's for sure, and of course my proclamation that he was the greatest of all time was strictly rhetorical. ;) I'm finding myself playing a lot of Bach in my practice time these days, and for me, Gould plays Bach as I would have imagined Bach played Bach. As for lack or emotion, have you ever heard his second recording of the Goldberg Variations (made late in his career)? Certainly no lack of emotion there!! It is far less subdued than his famous 1950's recording.

 

Richter was breathtaking to be sure, but sometimes he's a little too over-the-top for my taste.

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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I know nothing about Mr Gould beyond the fact that he was a "tad eccentric". But I have his Goldberg Variations, and my mouth drops everytime I listen to it.

He apparently recorded it start to finish with no pauses.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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