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Scott Belyea
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Well, another book on Gould I won't read. I admire Gould's accomplishments probably more than most. I have some books about him, most of his recordings (including documentaries), a few DVD's ... and I can recall dashing down to Sam the Record Man to get one of the limited edition Goldbergs which included the second LP containing the "interview" by Tim Page. But for my taste, the whole phenomenon veered into something approaching hagiography a good while ago, and I've lost interest. (Exception - I think I should get Kingwell's book.) And if someone twisted my arm to name his "best" recording, it would not be Bach, but rather his almost eerie recording of Byrd and Gibbons.
"Postulate 36: He who remembers a thing in which he has once taken delight, desires to possess it under the same circumstances as when he first took delight therein." Well, I tried to resist. "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't, hunt it down and kill it."
"Winderstehe doch der Sünde (Why don't you try to keep away from Sin, already):" Have you considered doing new English translations of all the Bach cantatas? I might be willing to pay good money for that. :-) As fascinating a character and musician as Gould was, I got turned off by the neverending exhumation of all things Gould a few years back. There is such a thing as analysing something into incoherence, and that's what's happening. I have a pianist friend who knew Gould, and he's commented on how much Gould would have disliked what's happened since his death.
Well, I agree enthusiastically with every word you say, particularly your comments about the "premature expostulators." (That's the sort of term I find annoying ... but only because I wish I'd thought of it first.) A good example of avoiding this was a Winterreise I was fortunate to attend a few years back at the Ravinia Festival with Quasthoff and Eschenbach. At the end, Quasthoff had his eyes closed. He stayed that way for what seemed like at least 20 seconds. You could have heard a pin drop. The applause did not start until he moved. Perfect. Mind you, it helped that it was a great performance.
Well ... I can't go along with you at all here. First, in this more than in most lieder, it seems to me that the lack of the human voice is crippling. I just listened to Fischer-Dieskau/Moore from the EMI mid-60's Salzburg box. You say that "Carpenter shows us how to colour words with sound...". Compared to F-D (or a number of other singers), all I can say is that my ears must work differently from yours. Second, the organ is a very poor second to the piano in this song. To my ears, the crispness and drive is seriously diminished by the organ sound. Not quite mushy, but it certanly doesn't have the definition of the piano sound. And third, in such a narrative song, the actual words matter. Ah, well. It will presumably come as no surprise that I have quite a few E. Power Biggs LP's, but only 2 by Virgil Fox. I guess there's just no accounting for taste. :-)
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Jun 15, 2010