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[F_minor] GG Brahms

The 2 cd set of Brahms: Ballades, Rhapsodies and Intermezzi arrived in
mail today.  I've heard all of these many times before.  Several things
strike on another listen through.  All of this music is "evening" music
in my minds imagination.  When I say this it means that it is best
listened to when you're at home, relaxed and able to focus on the depth.
This is Brahms at his most sublime and poetic and listening to this
while you're working means that you'll miss all the layers.  
Another impression: Gould was so at home with poetry and nothing in his
output was more poetic and profound than the Brahms pieces we have on
these cd's.  These are difficult pieces on a technical level.  However,
what I know of the music and of Gould is that he was attracted to them
because of their overt beauty and of the many inner realms of depth that
were possible to manifest in the hands of a gifted interpreter.  Lots of
musicians play these pieces but few capture the inner workings of Brahms
as he set down his poetry to music. 
Brahms was a classical composer working in the long shadow he chose to
walk behind: Beethoven.  He was also a romantic in ways that Beethoven
might have evolved into had he lived longer.  Gould had that particular
gift of being able to extract layers of texture that could only be
revealed if unique articulations of emphasis were pushed and sometimes
to the point of exaggeration.  He has taken his lumps over the over the
years for his tempi; however, this Brahms, in my view, is entirely
acceptable, even though certain of the tempos are very slow.  Gould had
that habit of slowing the slow down even more so that he could show us
ideas that our minds might not have noticed at a higher speed.  It was
risky, but for me the musical insights are always worth the indulgence.
I have not heard more shimmering, contemplative, passionate and loving
Brahms.   These are treasures for me and are often so introspective that
one wonders if Gould had not recreated them as personal Brahmsian
meditations.  Wonderful and a must for all Gouldians.
Best regards,
Fred Houpt

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