Sunday, October 3, 2010

10/3 Glenn Gould and the 47 Variations

"Glenn Gould and the 47 Variations"

I like Glenn Gould, he's a fascinating character.  Besides having a huge impact on how half of all pianists play Bach, his stance on live performance is pretty interesting.  My understanding is that he quit giving live concerts because he felt that the whole ritual of going to a performance and seeing the execution of a work (which may or may not end up being successful) was distracting towards enjoying the music itself.  On a record, the performer can do re-takes and pick out the best one so you KNOW it's what the interpreter wanted.  In one interview he basically says that it's hard for him to even enjoy other musicians' concerts because all he can think about is the anxiety that comes with such a public display of incredibly complex music.  

I can definitely see his point.  I have to admit there are some concerts where the only thing I can remember about them is that the guy next to me fell asleep, or the lady behind me had a bad cold, or the violinist broke a string.  However the act of going to a concert I think helps to invest you into the performance - that is, since you paid $60 for this seat there is a better chance that you will at least try to give it your full attention and not answer the phone or google the menu at Applebee's.

Anyways that's enough editorial, here's Glenn Gould performing 2 Beethoven Variation sets...

15 Variations and a Fugue in Eb 'Eroica' Op.35 (1802) (Parts 1-3)
32 Variations (in C minor) on an Original Theme WoO.80 (1806)  (Parts 4-5)

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