[f_minor] Gould and Rachmaninoff

michael macelletti mmacelletti at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jul 13 21:20:09 EDT 2010

yes, granted.  and we all know he would never even think of doing the 3 rd 
concerto , which seems to envision a "  calvary to the rescue "  scene  after an 
overly- extended syrupy morass of emotionalism.   this is obvious.   BUT,   the 
question remains , what fascinated him about the rhapsody  to the point that he 
came close to playing it ?    and he WAS tempted. 

From: James Wright <gzarlino at hotmail.com>
To: f_minor at glenngould.org
Sent: Tue, July 13, 2010 4:09:33 PM
Subject: [f_minor] Gould and Rachmaninoff

 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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