[f_minor] Gould and Rachmaninoff

James Wright gzarlino at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 13 16:09:33 EDT 2010

I believe that this topic has appeared on this list a few times.  A reminder that Gould generally dispised Rachmaninoff's works precisely because it focuses on the virtuostic and the expressive.  However he felt that Rachmaninoff's work as a pianist had some merit, and he owned some recordings.


Most of the standard biographies deal with Gould's disdain for music of this kind.  Some of GG's comments on Rach. appear in his short essay on Alexis Weissenberg (see, for ex., http://www.solopassion.com/node/6655).  Personally, I have difficulty understanding Gould's admiration for some of Weissenberg's recordings.  It is equally well known that Gould was not over-fond of most of Chopin's music, however he wrote that he could live without Chopin's piano concertos until he heard Alexis Weissenberg's recording.



James K. Wright, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor &
Supervisor of Performance Studies
School for Studies in Art & Culture: Music
A917 Loeb Building, Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1S 5B6
Email: James_Wright at carleton.ca
Telephone : (613) 520-2600 (ext. 3734)
Fax : (613) 520-3905

Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 14:15:45 -0400
From: fred.houpt at rbc.com
To: f_minor at glenngould.org
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Facebook

I play the piano and have made my way through all of Beethoven's piano works.  The fugue you speak of is hard to do and a slower speed will not reduce the impact too much.  The fugue from the Hammerklavier is even more impossible to wrap the fingers around and as well you can take it as your fingers can move.  I have lately been playing Rachmaninoff and if you want knuckle and finger breaking then he's your man.  I so love his music for the deep heart in his always emotional sounds.  Reminds me of the depths I hear in Brahms, another great love of mine and equally as finger destroying.  Both of these guys....their piano concertos are so hard to play but I enjoy the challenges as you explore the textures up close.
I am very perplexed why GG did not play Rach.  Has anyone read any comments attributed to GG about that?  I have also been playing lots of Faure who is very worth investigating, is often hard to play but the tunes, the tunes!!!! 
I also wanted to remind everyone of the must have web site from which you can download public domain sheet music at no cost other than the paper and ink in the printer.  Here is the link:

From: f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org [mailto:f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org] On Behalf Of RubatoM at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:04 PM
To: f_minor at glenngould.org
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Facebook


I'd like to offer another subject of conversation.  It would be interesting to know what members are playing and what technical issues seem important to the pianists in the group.  I am a private musician and rarely play for others, so I have few people with whom I can talk about practice.  Right now I am working on the fugue section of Beethoven's 31st Sonata.  It is so beautiful, but tricky to feel out the theme.  GG does it very well, not quite as brilliantly as V. Ashkenazy.  It is quite a challenge to do all the tricky things that keep the long crescendo going and keep the theme line clear. I prefer to play it at a slower speed that either of these two masters.  

If I had unlimited funds and no other family responsibilties, I'd spend my lfe traveling around to hear live performances.  I have been fortunate to have heard Glenn Gould, V. Ashkenazy, Arthur Rubinstein, Arnaldo Cohen, Claudio Aarrau, and my own teacher, Yehuda Guttman.  Mr. Guttman still gives private concerts in his own home in Key West.  If any of you members are ever there, be sure to call him to see if a concert is scheduled.  

Best regards,
Anita Thompson-Monroe
RubatoM at aol _______________________________________________________________________

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