Thursday, July 30, 2015

Glenn Gould Plays Haydn

As if to prove he had not changed his mind about how the Viennese High Classical repertoire ought to be performed, Glenn Gould returned to Columbia's New York Studios in the early '80s to record Haydn's last six piano sonatas. Gould had, of course, recorded all Mozart's piano sonatas between 1966 and 1974 in performances that, while technically brilliant, were judged interpretively eccentric, and his Haydn recordings here share those qualities.
Naturally, Gould's technique is impeccable: every note in the score is presented cleanly, clearly, and with nary a pitch out of place. But, inevitably, Gould's articulation is questionable. Did Haydn mean for the opening Andante con espressione of the D major Sonata (Hob.XVI: 42) to be played non legato ? Did he intend for the opening Allegro of the E-Flat major Sonata (Hob.XVI: 52) to be played staccato ? Did he mean for the chords in the central Adagio e cantabile of the E-Flat major Sonata (Hob.XVI: 49) to be rolled ? The scores bear no such indications ; as they had been in Gould's Mozart recordings, they are entirely of the pianist's invention.
More troubling, perhaps, are Gould's choices of tempos. Fast movements can be incredibly fast — the Vivace assai that closes the D major Sonata (Hob.XVI: 42) is breathtakingly quick — while slow movements can be amazingly slow — the Andante con espressione that opens the Sonata in C major (Hob.XVI: 48) is gaspingly slow. While not as odd as the tempos of his Mozart recordings where he often took fast movements slowly and slow movements quickly, these alterations seriously distort the shape and structure of the music. While these changes may be entirely acceptable for Gould's fans, for most listeners they may sound willfully strange and as utterly unacceptable in Haydn as they were in Mozart.
Produced in digital by Gould himself, these recordings are absolutely transparent and shockingly immediate. This has the advantage of revealing every nuance of Gould's playing and the disadvantage of exposing every moan and groan of Gould's vocalizing.
James Leonard

Source :

Glenn Gould
Joseph Haydn

The Six Last Sonatas
Hoboken XVI/N° 42, 48, 49, 50-52


Cd. 1

Sonata n° 56, Hoboken XVI/N° 42, in D Major
(circa 1782/84)
1 I. Andante con espressione  8:47
2 II. Vivace assai  2:13

Sonata n° 58, Hoboken XVI/N° 48, in C Major
(circa 1789)
3 I. Andante con espressione  12:54
4 II. Rondo : Presto  3:23

Sonata n° 59, Hoboken XVI/N° 49, in E-Flat Major
(circa 1789/90)
5 I. Allegro  4:46
6 II. Adagio e cantabile  8:48
7 III. Finale : Tempo di Minuet  3:40


Cd. 2

Sonata n° 60, Hoboken XVI/N° 50, in C Major
(circa 1794/95 ?)
1 I. Allegro  5:32
2 II. Adagio  5:33
3 III. Allegro molto  2:28

Sonata n° 61, Hoboken XVI/N° 51, in D Major
(circa 1794/95 ?)
4 Andante  3:25
5 II. Finale : Presto  2:22

Sonata n° 62, Hoboken XVI/N° 52, in E-Flat Major
(circa 1794)
6 I. Allegro  5:17
7 II. Adagio  7:34
8 III. Finale : Presto  3:48


Glenn Gould - p

Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City ; March 11, 1981 [Cd. 1, # 1 & 2] ; March 12 & May 29, 1981 [Cd. 1, # 3 & 4] ; February 24 & 25, 1981 [Cd. 1, # 4-7] ; October 13 & 14, 1980 [Cd. 2, #1-3] ; October 14, 1980 [Cd. 2, # 4 & 5] ; & February 25 & March 13, 1981 [Cd. 2, # 6-8]


PlantDoctor53 said...

Thank you Mel.

sudzy said...

most excellent. Thank you.

swamielmo said...

thank you mel, now i can ditch my lp to cassette to digital funky copy. this is really good playing by gould.

sudzy said...

..i managed to have the Japanese CBS pressing of this and always thought highly of this. Great to have this in cd format. Thanks again.

Melanchthon said...


Gaetano Bevilacqua said...


bho wani said...

Thank you, Mel, je suis au Paradis !

Anonymous said...

Links are dead… this so sad !!!! Ty for your work anyway :

Anonymous said...

Pleeeeease !