. I’ve already played the Siegfried Idyll on the CBC as a kind of tryout, so I know that it works, and what I did was to widen the sound — and here we come back to the notions of breaking chords. Glenn’s essence is lovingly captured through these interviews, and there could not be more valuable guides taking you on this journey than Eric, Josh and Kate Shapero. .,” and we were going along magnificently with superb euphony. I took the position that one of the things that goes wrong when you transcribe a work faithfully for orchestra, especially a work that has a predominant string texture, as the Siegfried Idyll does, is that the doubling of contrabass and cello should be either as an intermittent feature or one which is used to widen the spectrum of sound without reinforcing the percussiveness of the sound, as indeed it does in the orchestra. And as I began to work out my system, one thing after another began to go wrong, until not many minutes had elapsed and I found that I’d developed a total block about this thing. Here is Gould playing Bach with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos. It is a romantic composition showing Gould’s fin-de-siecle predilection for the works of Bruckner and Richard Strauss. Now if it had a different system of leading; if the draft of the key (which means the fall from top to bottom) were different; if the relationship of the after-touch to the kickback point when you’re depressing a key were different — if any or all of those things were different, one would not be able to sit at that piano as you do. There was something cultivated and cultured about producing a langueur, and there were limits of permissibility. Which brings me to why I had fun with it. I find myself more genuinely drawn to the essence of Beethoven in Schnabel than I ever have been by anybody. Since his retirement in 1964, Gould has continued to produce one extraordinary recording after another. Gould led the charge for Strauss’s rehabilitation, proclaiming him “the man who makes richer his own time by not being of it; who speaks for all generations by being of none. [We hung up on this ecstatic note.
(later the host of the long-running TV show Jeopardy! Partly self-created (he once referred to himself as. And apart from the difference in temperaments, the difference in length and difference in orchestration and so on, the only personnel difference between, let us say, the earliest of Haydn concerti and the latest of Mozart concerti — of which the C Minor is one of the latest ones — would be that in the earliest of Haydn concerti the soloist would do his thing and the conductor would sit at another harpsichord and go right along with him and support him and do some doodlings that were based on figured-bass conceptions written by the composer but which were not absolute.
We have a new record coming out of Bach’s first four French Suites [Gould has since recorded an album of the fifth and sixth Suites, and another of Bach’s Partita in B Minor] — in fact it’s the first thing we did make after the piano was restored — and they’re just as deliberate and dry as any Bach I’ve ever done, but they are played more slowly, because one way you can function within a somewhat thicker sound is obviously to slow down. Two piano greats, Gary Graffman and Leon Fleisher, approached Gould to introduce themselves.
I simply transferred it to other media, and I now have it in relation to recording sessions… and the dream always makes me aware of the fact that the repertoire that I think I’m doing is not the repertoire I’m really doing. Couperin lives off subtlety much as Scarlatti does — subtlety of a social-grace kind rather than of a structural kind.
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