[f_minor] sonic collision

Brad Lehman bpl at umich.edu
Wed Jul 21 16:49:47 EDT 2010

It has nothing to do with "emotional bluster" by GG; he simply hit the 
instrument's keys too hard, making mechanical noise that really doesn't 
need to be there.  Try this one:
But, it's even clearer on the Handel recording, because the general 
quality of the recording is much better....

Geoffrey Payzant's book (1984), p112: "It seems from his recordings and 
from his own accounts of them that Gould failed to assimilate the 
actions of harpsichords, to come to terms with their tactilia. So he 
compelled himself to pretend that he was playing on his piano instead. 
So far as tactilia are concerned there is almost nothing in common among 
the actions of organs, pianos and harpsichords. Weight of touch produces 
no effect upon loudness on the organ, and very little if any on the 
harpsichord; hence, so far as 'control' is concerned these instruments 
are at least as different from the piano as they are in respect of 
'tactile grab and immediacy'. Thus, for any pianist a drastic 
redirection of focal attention from the music itself to the tactilia is 
demanded when he goes from piano to harpsichord or organ.  This would be 
particularly the case if the pianist had not remained in regular contact 
with those two instruments, as Gould has not. In his case the effects of 
this drastic redirection of focal attention can be observed in his 
harpsichord and organ discs. In the former, as I have mentioned, he 
slams the key into its bed; it is like a centipede jabbing to find its 
footing on unfamiliar ground."

Brad Lehman

On 7/21/2010 4:17 PM, michael macelletti wrote:
> these " thumping " or " pounding " references to either gg's harpsichord
> or piano playing are beginning to get a bit tiresome. YOU might want to
> live in a world inhabited exclusively by the likes of lionel party, but
> please, leave me out. i prefer gg's emotional bluster to effete
> intellectual purity anytime.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Brad Lehman <bpl at umich.edu>
> *To:* Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
> <f_minor at glenngould.org>
> *Sent:* Wed, July 21, 2010 11:22:57 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [f_minor] sonic collision
> On 7/21/2010 9:33 AM, Houpt, Fred wrote:
>  > I think GG played the Clavichord but maybe not recorded on such.
> I don't recall seeing any mention of Gould playing the clavichord,
> anywhere in the Gould literature that I've seen. Given the way he hit
> that Wittmayer "harpsichord" too hard, pounding the jacks into the rail,
> I don't think he had any clue about playing the clavichord or using its
> fingerings, either. :)
> Wanna hear somebody hit a clavichord hard? Oscar Peterson's album of
> "Porgy and Bess", accompanied by Joe Pass on guitar. The person in
> charge of the clavichord said later that they'd had to retune the
> instrument after every take, because Peterson was bending the strings so
> much with his touch.
> Brad Lehman

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