[f_minor] Gould and problem-solving
tlcdma2004 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 10 12:51:00 MDT 2013
That was so beautifully written and spot on.
I have a mind to quote you . . . sometime.
On Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 7:39 PM, David Gracer <david_gracer at hotmail.com>wrote:
> Belated thanks to all for your great advice! I will definitely investigate
> the Hafner book.
> From: bobmerk at earthlink.net
> To: f_minor at glenngould.org
> Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 16:29:36 -0500
> Subject: Re: [f_minor] Gould and problem-solving
> Hiya Jörgen, Karl et omnes --
> Maybe a side trip to a parallel art and a different artist might help
> illuminate this odd question of why and when Gould mysteriously strayed
> from his trademark musical perfectionism.
> Probably in one of his interviews with The Paris Review, the American
> visual artist Donald Evans (1945–1977) was asked about the (intentional)
> imperfections in many of his faux postage stamps and mail art (all of which
> he painted actual postage-stamp size). Examples might include intentionally
> ruined/damaged stamps -- a coffee-cup stain ring in a corner is the sort of
> thing one might expect to find in an Evans stamp.
> Evans had a phrase (which I've merrily forgotten) for these intentional
> imperfections, but he wanted them as important tools to achieve the
> "realism" of his faux postage stamps. Our ubiquitous experience with real
> stamps and real mail/post objects (envelopes, postcards) is pregnant with
> damage and stains and rips and tears, physical abuse inherent in the
> thuggish process of postal delivery, and (for stamp collectors) the
> inevitable damage of old age, fading, yellowing.
> Evans was striving not just for remarkably beautiful and evocative visuals
> (almost all watercolors), but for the opposite of what art museums go to
> costly lengths to prevent and delay -- the deleterious effects of time,
> aging, accidents, light, moisture and heat exposure. Evans WANTED the
> random inclusion of these "bad things," to subtly draw the viewer into the
> realism of his postage-stamp imaginary universe, to convince the viewer
> that the viewer was seeing "the real thing," "the McCoy."
> Gould's escape from live performances to the "total control" environment
> of the recording studio must almost instantly have made him acutely aware
> of the sterility that is perfection's handmaiden and reward.
> Worse and more painfully, the studio must constantly and starkly reminded
> him of the spontaneous thrill of accidents, mistakes, audience coughing.
> Stripping his music of spontaneity and accidents (by editing out all
> spontaneity and mistakes and accidents) must have provided painful
> reminders of the musical reality -- the beautiful reality -- of live
> Perfectionism is a harsh mistress, who enjoys taunting and tormenting the
> perfectionist with her built-in and unavoidable failures to achieve that
> which the artist so obsessively desired. Studio Gould must have been a life
> like Tantalus' grapes: so intimately and deliciously near, but forever just
> out of reach.
> Massachusetts USA
> P.S. Before I gave up the vinyl ghost and moved my GG to the fancy
> new-fangled CD format, I'd come to love and anticipate every scratch, hiss
> and hiccup of my Mozart sonatas. Of course I took pleasure in hearing the
> pieces so marvelously cleaned up, but I missed my sloppy needle-kicking
> hissing old friends. Reality ISN'T perfect, and perfection rarely lives up
> to its promise to make us happy.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se>
> To: "Karl Brown" <kbrown at physics.carleton.ca>
> Cc: "Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould." <
> f_minor at glenngould.org>
> Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 12:10 PM
> Subject: Re: [f_minor] Gould and problem-solving
> > Hello Karl,
> > The most prominent "hiccup" recording is by far the inventions and
> > sinfonias. I would suggest that the answer has to do with Gould's search
> > for a specific tactile response of the instrument. It needed to be fast
> > and very direct, like an F1 car. I guess he rated this over the "hiccups"
> > even if he was aware of and not very pleased with them (see the liner
> > notes to that album). At least that is my interpretation of that
> > particular text, even if he on the surface seems to be writing about them
> > rather fondly.
> > Sometimes Gould seems to accept less than perfect results. The most
> > glaring example I can think of is at the end of the first half of the
> > difficult finale of the 2nd partita. Every time I hear that faulty note
> > makes me cringe, and I wonder why Gould never went back and fixed it.
> > Regards,
> > Jorgen
> >> Jorgen et al,
> >> I concur, Katie Hafner's "A Romance on Three Legs" is a great read"
> >> A question if I may ...
> >> If Mr. Gould was such a perfectionist, then why did he accept the
> >> repeated "hiccups" (as named by Mr. Gould himself) on many of his
> >> recordings?
> >> Prior to noticing them, I was very content with many of his recordings,
> >> I especially love the clarity he brings to them etc. but since paying
> >> particular attention to and finding these hiccup's I find them to be
> >> unfortunate and as a result I am becoming uncomfortable (to be honest)
> >> and can't find a reason as to why Mr. Gould would have accepted them to
> >> be released as part of his recording.
> >> I first noticed this while listening to his Scriabin/Prokofiev, Track
> >> #1, Scriabin, Dramatico @ 07:42. The hiccup is as clear as a bell yet he
> >> was accepting of it just the same.
> >> Can someone provide an explanation?
> >> Thanks in advance,
> >> Karl
> >> On 22-Feb-2013 9:37, jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se wrote:
> >>> Hello Dvae,
> >>> This is an interesting question. As in many cases Gould isn't exactly
> >>> consistent in his view of the piano. Several times he writes about
> >>> himself
> >>> being a "musician" (or words to that effect) that just happens to play
> >>> the
> >>> piano. At the same time he looks for the ultimate instrument and works
> >>> harder than most to get the right action and sound from the different
> >>> pianos he's playing.
> >>> The story about his Israeli tour (is that in the Cott interview book I
> >>> wonder) is interesting; the instrument was terrible and in order to get
> >>> the best results he imagined he was at home playing the Chickering. The
> >>> dynamics was constricted as a result, but he was much more pleased with
> >>> the result. So he did think about the practicalities of piano playing
> >>> more
> >>> than most pianists.
> >>> In that context you have to take into consideration the very different
> >>> sound the pianist hears and the sound which the audience hear. No doubt
> >>> Gould with his great experience knew that difference, but I can't help
> >>> wondering if he wasn't more concerned with what he himself heard and
> >>> felt
> >>> than what he thought was getting out into the hall. That is at least
> >>> consistent with his view of the absurdity -- as far as musical contents
> >>> go
> >>> -- to play for the balcony, which is necessary in order to reach out in
> >>> big concert halls. I suppose this would count for much of the changes
> >>> his playing -- the way it sounds -- after retiring.
> >>> I recommend the excellent "A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's
> >>> Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano" by Katie Hafner. It is a
> >>> trove of everything concerning Gould and pianos.
> >>> I also believe that Gould wanted to distance himself from the very act
> >>> of
> >>> piano playing. There's this centipede metaphore problem: if you think
> >>> too
> >>> much of the very aspects of piano playing it might just make it
> >>> impossible
> >>> to make it work. Also, the very tradition of virtuoso piano playing
> >>> the artist as a conqueror of the hearts (more than the minds) of the
> >>> public was the antithesis of his philosophy. Again, he did record and
> >>> play
> >>> contrary to these ideas; the Ravel "La Valse" is one example.
> >>> I can't give you any exact quotes on any of the above subjects though.
> >>> Someone else perhaps?
> >>> Regards,
> >>> Jorgen
> >>>> Good morning all,
> >>>> One of the "32 films" has a voice-over describing the various
> >>>> GG
> >>>> had played on tour. At least one of the instruments had been so out of
> >>>> whack that Gould wondered how the audience had tolerated it, and he
> >>>> said
> >>>> something about 'not being that fond of the sounds a piano makes,' or
> >>>> something to this effect. Unless my comprehension/memory are shot...
> >>>> This started me thinking: did Gould say or write much about how his
> >>>> music was simply a means to an end? That playing the piano was nothing
> >>>> more than the work needed to be done in order to get someplace he
> >>>> wanted
> >>>> to go, metaphorically speaking?
> >>>> Thanks,
> >>>> Dave
> >>>> From:maryellenjensen28 at hotmail.com
> >>>> To:f_minor at glenngould.org
> >>>> Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2013 23:51:20 +0100
> >>>> Subject: [f_minor] Sartorial Interlude
> >>>> "I can put him on for hours -- he's like nobody else," says Waters,
> >>>> owns 10 books on Gould, hunts for anecdotes on him and gives his CDs
> >>>> gifts. "He was the ultimate original -- a real outsider. And he had a
> >>>> great style, the hats and the gloves and so on." - interview with John
> >>>> Waters (Baltimore) for the NY Times August 2003.
> >>>> The following is marvellous, from "Kempt" (who uses THAT word any
> >>>> longer?!):
> >>>> http://www.getkempt.com/icon/the-icon-glenn-gould.php
> >>>> It's about time.
> >>>> Mary
Tony Cimino, DMA
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
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