[f_minor] Beethoven for Fred

maryellen jensen maryellenjensen28 at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 3 17:25:30 MDT 2012


 A bit of der Brendel on your chosen topic:

 well-known American author...once asked various pianists what they 
thought of Horowitz.  I was unable to contribute to his book because, as
 I told him, I was more interested in musical realities than musical 

I was not as enthusiastic about Horowitz the artist as 
many of my colleagues. And I was not so captivated by him as a pianist 
either, since I found that his kind of virtuosity rarely served the 
music as I understood it.

...you can either illuminate works with
 a spotlight from without, or develop them from within....the spotlights
 from without are embodied for me particularly clearly in Glenn Gould.  
In my view, he was not interested in deciphering a work from within, but
 wished instead, as unexpectedly as possible, to illuminate it from 
without.  He went so far as to actually hamper an understanding of a 
composer, and maltreat him, in order to be original at all costs.  It 
was clearly compulsive.

Gould to me was a classic example of what
 a performer should not be; as an eccentric, he seemed determined to 
oppose the wishes of the composer or go against the character of the 

I've always asked myself: why does this man, who is so 
gifted, treat composers in such a disgraceful way?  It seems to me that 
quite a few people love this kind of sadism...There is nothing wrong in 
playing pieces in a variety of ways - but please do so within the 
limits, within the character and structure of the piece itself. Gould 
deliberately oversteps these limits, or he is simply not aware of them.

 seems to me that he has no interest in all in the character of the 
piece.  He is not aware that it exists...He does not consider that there
 might be a character which is indissolubly connected with the piece, 
which one must find and bring to life.

I have to accept that 
Gould's playing can on occasions be revelatory. But I do not think this 
is due to psychological understanding, but rather to chance - the desire
 to do what is unexpected.

I am not a Rachmaninov fan.  The piano repertoire is vast, and Rachmaninov to me seems a waste of time.

 [Rachmaninov's] works for piano, above all the piano concertos, there 
is nothing that I find captivating, enough to recommend to a young 
pianist. Nor has the third piano concerto ever convinced me."

The book is in Q & A format (the questioner is Martin Meyer, literary editor of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung) and the sections are Life, About Music, On Performance, On Writing (Brendel has published essays and poetry), and an Epilogue.

 The book in question is: 

          Me of All People: Alfred Brendel in Conversation with Martin Meyer


Alfred Brendel, 
Martin Meyer, Richard Stokes (Translator)



PS  There's an interesting 2 dvd documentary "Alfred Brendel: In Portrait" - visit your local University Library for further details...  


Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2012 15:52:51 -0700
From: boyboy_8 at yahoo.com
To: f_minor at glenngould.org
Subject: [f_minor] Beethoven

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 HouptToronto

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://ff0.org/pipermail/f_minor/attachments/20121004/f14d883d/attachment.html>

More information about the f_minor mailing list