[f_minor] Beethoven

f h boyboy_8 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 1 16:52:51 MDT 2012


On the recent CBC radio Sunday program that Michael Enright did with Robert Harris, Harris mentioned a CBC recording (many years ago) of GG playing Beethoven's Tempest piano sonata (#17).  I do believe that the one I've posted here is part 1 of this sonata.   As Harris explained, GG often ignored the composer tempo and dynamic markings were in search of what "the music" was asking for.  This was a curious but I think accurate insight into GG's mind.  When I hear GG doing this Tempest, there are several things to look for.  Notice that he is conducting all the time, breathing with the music as if it was a symphony.   In his lectures, famous Beethoven specialist Andras Schiff often explains that Beethoven was first and foremost a symphonist and his sonatas reflect symphonic architecture reduced to two hands.  This is also correct and in GG's performance he is approaching the sonata as if it was a symphony.  Notice as well how he handles the
 motifs that sound like a soloist singing a single musical line.  Gould takes extra time to allow the notes of the motif to rise up in melancholy, expressing such depth of Beethoven emotion.  The entire movement, for me, is extraordinary and I cannot remember hearing it done with more pathos and introspection.  Incredible.....and totally unique interpretation.  But again, Gould has sought to make the music sound fresh and all the while respecting the meaning that the music has within itself.  


Fred Houpt
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