[f_minor] Gould and Rachmaninoff

Cline, Eric Eric.Cline at reichhold.com
Thu Jul 15 08:03:22 EDT 2010

I would love to have had recordings of the Beethoven piano sonatas Op.81a and Op.101. We have an old CBC recording of Op.101 but I read somewhere that he used to play Op.81a in concerts and really liked it. Also I think he performed the Beethoven Triple concerto (St. Louis?) and I would have enjoyed hearing him in that work too.


Eric Cline 



From: f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org [mailto:f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org] On Behalf Of James Atkins Pritchard
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 1:30 AM
To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
Subject: Re: [f_minor] Gould and Rachmaninoff


I have to say that a complete Art of the Fugue on the piano is at the top of my list of things I wish GG had left us; I believe he would have recorded it if he had lived longer. I also would love to have some Handel on the piano. And generally more English music from the 16th-18th centuries. Do other people have "I wish he recorded this" lists?


Best regards,



On 14 July 2010 09:37, Houpt, Fred <fred.houpt at rbc.com> wrote:

GG was highly selective when defining music whose forms were overly virtuosic.  For example, there are many Brahms pieces that are very hard to play, especially the 2'nd Piano Concerto (gosh, did GG play this one or was it only #1?) and yet he loved Brahms.  There are sections in the Goldberg that are as complex and devilishly difficult to play as anything Liszt did yet we never complain about how easy GG made it sound.  It is true that Bach would have found Liszt's overt drawing of attention to his own physical skills to be gross.  


GG's Chopin, for me, is like listening to him roll over it with a heavy steam roller, delighting in pulling apart all the thinly laid superstructure, performing the music as if it had no skeleton and smirking all along.  


It is also true that Rach like other Russian composers often wears his heart all over the notes and perhaps GG's sometimes Apollonian sensibilities were just put off by such exaggerated postures?  This is then hard to explain by GG's choice of that wonderful Bizet short piece on one of his recordings.  It is also hard then to understand that very rich emotionalism of the Richard Strauss album, which I do treasure.  GG then in my view was like many of us, capable of embodying contradictory tastes that defy purely rational analysis.  I am saddened that he did not play some Rach and the Rhapsody would have bored me as it is waaaaayyyyy over played.  I would have enjoyed him doing a sonata or some of the other showy pieces that I so enjoy.  


I would have just as much enjoyed GG doing the complete Bach "Musical Offering" and complete "Art of the Fugue".  Why he chose to fragment those pieces and not take up the whole like the Goldberg's is a mystery.




Fred Houpt



From: f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org [mailto:f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org] On Behalf Of James Wright
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:10 PM

To: f_minor at glenngould.org

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 <mailto: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



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