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Re: GG: Italian Concerto

On Wed, 5 Mar 1997, John P. Hill wrote:

> The Italian Concerto is one of those flashy showpieces that Bach wrote
> early on as a virtuoso keyboardist.  

The Italian Concerto was published around 1735.  I don't think
it's a very early work.  It certainly has none of the "lapses"
(if one can think of J. S. Bach as having "lapses"!)
that I associate with early pieces like the D-major toccata.

> Gould's criticism of it always
> focused on it's lack of contrapuntal interest and the fact that it was
> a showpiece for keyboard virtuosity (he hated these kinds of
> quasi-competitive displays...).

As always, Gould was being contradictory. I can't really see what
is particularly show-offy about the Italian Concerto compared
to the fourth and fifth partitas, both pieces Gould loved.
It's true he hated the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and the
performance shows -- not so, I think, for his performances
of the Italian Concerto.

Rob Haskins
Eastman School of Music