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Twenty minutes Chopin
Thanks Kirsten and Charlie for the 32SF@GG hint. I watch it on video
yesterday and it seems to me by now that, when it comes to scientific
matters and G.G. in conjunction, it only relates to elementary scool in one
way or another. What I was really looking for was this (apparently
nonexisting) hobby of his - advanced algebra, The Ide of Astronomy or
having conversations with some Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr and so on.
If this had been the case, it would not exactly turn up to be of any
surprise to me. It's not important at all in relation to his music of
course, but "funny" stuff seems to emerge from those extremely gifted
talents from time to time. They sort of looking upon reality in this devine
way you know.
Well, Chopin and G.G. is, as all f_minors know I'm sure, not the most
obvious combination. The only major Chopin work he, to my knowledge,
recorded was the 3'th sontata (SONY SM2K 52 622) and it was unreleased for
several years. Nevertheless my favorit G.G. bio. quotation is in realation
to Chopin, and comes from Otto Friedrich's "Glenn Gould A Life and
Variations" (p. 308-9)...
(Friedrich is talking about the Golberg II session)
"The whole process of rerecording The Goldberg Variations was a kind of
collective festivity. Even the most unschooled members of the crew felt a
certain awe at Gould's preformances but also a certain sense of communion.
"One day as we were leaving the studio to have a bit to eat," Monsaingeon
recalls, "one technician said to me, 'Do you know that piece that goes
Pam-papa, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pampa-pa ?' I said 'Well, sure, it's Chopin's
Pononaise militaire,' and he said, 'Do you think he might play that for us
?' I said 'Well, you know, I don't think he's got any kind of love for
Chopin, but why don't you ask him ?' When we came back to the studio, that
cameraman or cableman or whoever is was said to Glenn 'Do you know this
piece ?' and he hummed it. And Glenn said, 'No.' The technician said,
'Well, too bad, I would have liked you to play it for us.' Glenn didn't say
a thing, but when the shot was ready, and I said, 'Well, let's do the first
take,' or the eighteenth take or whatever, Glenn, instead of playing the
variation, made an improvisation on that Chopin theme. And played for about
twenty minutes. It was absolutely unbelievable."
Q: In the manner og Bach ?
A: No, no, no, it was very Brahmsian, Wagnerian, that kind of harmonic
vocabulary. The Chopin theme was there, but he twisted it to all kinds of
degrees and made it into a very chromatic piece. And when he finished, you
know, he just roared in laughter, and everybody was - it was an incredible
piece of display, of pianistic and musical display. And Glenn said to me,
"Bruno, I hope you taped that." And, of course, I didn't, so it's gone
Next time (when ?) I hope someone press some button.
Regards Michael, Denmark