[f_minor] Gould on Richter and other pianists

Jörgen Lundmark jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se
Mon Jan 2 05:50:36 PST 2012

Hello all,

I think that Gould appreciated Richter's serious attitude towards music, 
i.e. his disinclination to make a purely virtuoso performance. 
Differently put, Gould appreciated and found a kindred spirit in 
Richter's more classical "clean" approach than the distinctly romatic 
playing of Horowitz. Also Rubinstein, whom Gould had the highest regard 
for (see the interview Gould did with AR, published in the GG Reader; 
his satire of Rubinstein's writing in the same volume has I think more 
to do with the lifestyle of the pianist than his actual performance), 
played -- despite his preference for Chopin -- in a less subjective 
virtuoso manner.

The fact the Horowitz is by far the most contrapuntally inclined player 
of all three doesn't seem to interest Gould. That Gould felt inclined to 
comment Horowitz' return to the stage in "The Hysteric Return" have, I 
would suggest, more complex reasons than just a distaste for concert 
performance. [The charaterizations are of course simplified; there are 
many examples of Horowitz being classically refined and even more 
Richter performances with an intensely virirtoso-romantic approach.]

Gould's own performances are rather often closer to the romantic 
approach, at least as far as "straying" from the notation is concerned. 
One mustn't forget that he is quite often less consistent than his 
written and spoken comments might suggest.

"The Enigma" is a true documentary masterpiece -- anyone not having seen 
it should do so! The success of this film is largely due to the 
interviews with Richter himself. And these were difficult to orchestrate 
since Richter was a very difficult person to deal with. Monsaingeons 
best films about GG are those were Gould took part himself. It seems 
Monsaingeon needs the input of and the problems dealing with the 
subject-matter in the flesh to make a truly inspired documentary.

All the best for 2012!


Ps. Let's hope these artists have put all the differences aside and 
together "joined the choir invisible".

> Mary, yep, we do indeed. Alas, that parrot is dead. Gone to meet its 
> maker, bereft of life and off to join the choir invisible and I doubt 
> we will see something that brilliant ever again.
> Now for summet completely different:
> How come Richter The Enigma is rather enjoyable while Hereafter is 
> such a horrible piece of drivel ? Mind you, both were made by the very 
> same director (Bruno Monstagenon) !
> Maybe I am a bit thick but I find it strange for someone like GG to 
> praise Richter. Apart from his technique Richter represented 
> everything GG despised about “beingg a pianist”. Tours, audiences, 
> concerts, doing routine pieces, the works.
> And while pianists who were playing in the same league as Richter in 
> terms of being “classic” concert pianists (i.e. Horowitz, Rubinstein) 
> , GG praised Richter for his playing and poured mild sarcasm over the 
> likes of the previously mentioned. Call me thick, but I fail to see 
> any logic here. Is this a Pianist Thing we non-pianists don’t get ?
> Pat
> *From:* maryellen jensen <mailto:maryellenjensen28 at hotmail.com>
> *Sent:* Monday, January 02, 2012 1:51 AM
> *To:* f_minor at glenngould.org <mailto:f_minor at glenngould.org>
> *Subject:* [f_minor] Richter and Rita
> Oooo we do miss The Python desperately.
> Strange thing Pat, our GG imagined himself the pianist in the 
> contortionist's sack
> (metaphorically) while on the other hand Richter wanted to be driven
> all over the USSR in the back of a truck with any old piano to perform
> in any and every little hamlet...
> Mary
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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