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Re: GG and Symbiosis

On Wed, 9 Apr 1997, Harold Sinclair wrote:
> I have GG playing only Bach really, and I'm wondering if anyone would be
> kind enough to recommend which of his Mozart to start with and why.
> Regards,
> Harold

     GG's performance of K. 330 from 1958 would be an excellent place to
start.  This is a beautiful, spacious reading of this sonata, by far my
favorite recording of a Mozart sonata.  The first movement is taken at an
unusually slow tempo which, combined with GG's characteristically clear
articulation, results in an incredibly lucid conception of this sonata.
GG's approach to the slow movement of this sonata reminds me of his
approach to Brahms, and even some of his Strauss.  The way he voices the
chords is just magic here.  The last movement is also taken at a slightly
slower tempo than is standard for this sonata.  Once again it is extremely
lucid, and GG adds some bravura and humor to the finale that ends the
piece perfectly.  
    This version of K. 330 is on the same CD as GG's K. 491.  I don't
understand what all the fuss about this concerto is.  I find it to be a
 gorgeous reading, so different from the dark and brooding readings
usually given to it.  As far as GG's "additions" to the score is
concerned, I find it to be a mixed bag.  Some of the arpeggiations he
interpolates in the bass in the first movement are distracting.  I do,
however, like some of the counterpoint he creates in the last movement,
especially some of the trills he adds in the bass, which fill in a rather
static left hand part.  Some of GG's departures from Mozart's indications
might be considered a little tasteless but there's one in particular that
I particularly like.  At around 6:30 of the final movement, there is a
passage in which the orchestra plays the lyrical theme while the piano is
supposed to quietly ascend in a scale passage and descend in softly played
octaves.  GG takes the ascending scale forte, and turns the soft octave
passage into a bravura passage, swamping the orchestra with harsh
fortissimo octaves.  I found it hilarious.  I highly recommend GG's
interpretation of K. 491.
	GG's much maligned Mozart cycle is also a mixed bag in my
experience.  Most of the early sonatas are played very nicely, especially
K. 283 which has a breathtakingly paced finale, K. 280, K. 284, 309, 311.
I can't say that I enjoy the later sonatas much, but I can honestly say
that I hate GG's recordings of K. 310, 330, and 331.  This recording of K.
330 is rotten compared with the beautiful recording of 1958.  K. 331 is
mainly a joke, and GG admitted as much.  I will never understand GG"s
choice of tempo in K. 310.  This is a beautiful work and I think GG could
have given it a marvelous reading.  Oh, well.  Hope this helps a little.

   Greg Romero