Thursday, May 22, 2014

Glenn Gould Plays Mozart - Broadcast Recitals ('68 & '69)

Glenn Gould was no stranger to controversy, but he never suffered a greater public drubbing than when he took up the piano music of Mozart. His eccentric performances of the sonatas and fantasias, and his heretical opinions about Mozart, enraged many listeners. He was accused of ignorance, insensitivity, even insanity — at the very least, as one critic put it, of behaving like "atremendously precocious but very nasty little boy trying to put one over on his pianoteaoher.“ When Gould released his Columbia/CBS recordings of Mozart's complete piano sonatas (five volumes, 1968-1975), he received some ofthe worst critical notices of his career. "Finally, this is madness !" cried one critic of Volume 2 ; another wrote that Volume 3 was "the most loathsome record ever made." A lengthy conversation on Mozart with French filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon (published in 1976 in Piano Quarterly and in 1979 as liner notes for a boxed set ofthe sonata recordings) offered some startling and unoharitable views on Mozart's music, and did nothing to appease Gould's detractors.
The general perception remains that Gould thought Mozart was a bad composer, and played Mozart's music in orderto make it sound as bad as possible. "It is very difficult to see what Gould is out to prove," wrote one critic, "unless the rumor that he actually hates this music is true." As usual with Gould, press of this sort reveals only a partial understanding of his intentions, and a tendency to take pianistic or verbal statements out of context. in fact, all of the brouhaha proved one of Gould's points : that Mozart is the Teflon composer par excellence, about whom one is not permitted to talk except within a context that assumes the transcendent perfection of his art. One tarnishes this icon at one's professional peril.
Kevin Bazzana, from the booklet

Glenn Gould
Plays
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)

Four Piano Sonatas in previously
unreleased performances

Tracks

Piano sonata n° 6 in D Major, K. 284
1 I. Allegro  2:4
2 II. (Polonaise en Rondeau). Andante  3:02
3 III. Theme & Variations  16:01

Piano Sonata n° 7 in C Major, K. 309
4 I. Alegro con spirito  3:25
5 II. Andante un poco agadio   6:28
6 III. Rondeau. Allegretto grazioso  5:32

Piano Sonata n° 8 in A Minoe, K. 310
7 I. Allegro maestoso  3:10
8 II. Andante cantabile con espressione  8:25
9 III. Presto  2:27

Piano Sonata n° 13 in B-Flat Major, K. 333
10 I. Allegro  4:31
11 II. Andante cantabile  5:42
12 III. Allegro grazioso  2:53

*

Glenn Gould - p

Recorded in Toronto, Canada ; Broadcast recitals ; December 3, 1968 [# 1-9] ; & November 29, 1969 [# 10-12]

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