[f_minor] cheer up

Jörgen Lundmark jorgen.lundmark at sundsvall.nu
Wed Sep 1 19:44:52 EDT 2010

Hello Karl,

I agree, let's try to make it more Gould related.

The passage you are referring to is on page 425 and it's about the 5th 
sonata by Scriabin. Gould also played the 3rd, but unfortunately didn't 
finish the complete set. Ruth Laredo had just finished hers and that is, 
if I remember correctly, one of the reasons Gould lost interest. 
Sviatoslav Richter apparently said that the 5th was the most difficult 
piece in the repertoire (again quoting Bazzana). Since I haven't played 
any of them, I can't say anything for certain, but I would think that 
some of the others, for example the 7th or 8th, are also VERY hard to 
play (works which to my knowledge Richter didn't play). Bazzana refers 
to Andrew Kazdin's log, which indicates a numbers of takes at the really 
taxing end of the sonata. It's safe to say he had to redo them because 
of technical problems rather than trying out different musical ideas.

Kevin Bazzana has attested that it is possible to complete Gould's sound 
choreographed project of this work (it was recorded the same way as the 
Sibelius sonatinas, with four differently placed microphone pairs). He 
has also offered to oversee the edit himself. Too bad Sony hasn't shown 
any interest so far.

I'm not certain I would agree with the author's assessment that the 
performance is "tepid". I think it has a remarkable rhythmic drive and 
clarity. What Gould does lack is the power in the big climax. This would 
have been a problem for him in other late-romantic works, for example 
the Rachmaninov third. This is not to say it wouldn't have been very 
interesting to hear what Gould would have done with such a work. It 
would have been like no other interpretation... On the same page Kevin 
Bazzana also mentions Gould making mistakes (during sound test) in 
Strauss' "Burleske", a work which is among the most difficult for piano 
and orchestra.

>     current thread of conversation
> As always, please try to keep it Gould-related.
> In Wondrous Strange, I recall Bazzana saying that Scriabian's sonata #1
> (opus #1?  Something #1) was considered one of the hardest piano pieces
> out there.  And noted that Gould had several splices in his recording,
> implying that they there were there because of mistakes and not artistic
> choices, though he didn't explain why he came to that conclusion.
> Cheers,
> k

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