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Re: GG release-SMK 52679
>Also, was wondering if anyone has some observations on the difference
>involved with this new release, SMK 5269 that I purchased today, of his
>string quartet has when played against the other 1990 recording on the
>"Composer" disc. Am forming my own aural impressions as we speak but would
>love to hear of other folk's opinions.
Forgive my ignorance of terminology, but my opinion of the
Gould-conducted string quartet as compared to the 1990 version of the
quartet is that the Gould-led performance is far less sentimental.
William Youngren analyzed Gould's later-career performances as
falling vicitm to "overcalculation, unnaturalness," and "highly mannered
rhetoric" as a result of an ever-increasing allegiance to an idealized
concept of music rather than the instrumental performance of music.
(*Atlantic*, Feb 1983) I can, in some instances, agree with this
generalization, and I see the two versions of the Opus 1 as evidence of the
2 schools of thought: Gould's idealized concept vs. the musician's
To me, the newer recording of the work seems to be drowning in
sentimentality, very sweet and wistful, it almost like a personal
confession on the part of the musicians as to how much they miss Gould, an
homage to Gould. The variations in intensity, sometimes in the middle of a
line, are very dramatic. The Gould-led performance by contrast seems much
more mathematical, the voice of the piece comes through in the tempi and
in the rests, in the spaces between the notes, so to speak. I know Gould
(as well as several critics) made comparisons between the Opus 1 and the
works of Strauss, but to me the newer recording is even more Strauss than
the original recording.
As for the 2 "So You Want To Write a Fugue" recordings, the first
recording, though a bit more contrapuntal in style, is also vocally
sloppier than the modern recording. Though, to be fair, someone clears
their throat too close to the mic during the newer recording.
Regards *cough cough*,
"For centuries man lived in the belief that truth was slim and elusive and
that once he found it the troubles of mankind would be over. And here we
are in the closing decades of the 20th century, choking on truth."