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  1. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    17 Jul '08 16:22
    I got a question that's a little obscure, probably.

    In 1962 Leonard Bernstein conducted a performance of the Brahms D Minor Piano Concerto with Glenn Gould as the soloist.

    Gould insisted on an interpretation that Bernstein for various reasons found really far out. So Bernstein went out on stage before the performance and made a short, humorous speech in the nature of disclaiming responsibility for the way the piece was going to be played.

    Then Gould proceeded to play the first movement at half the indicated tempo in Brahms' score. He also changed the dynamic indications and so this interpretation never was played again, insofar as I know.

    An attempt to get Gould to record this with Bernstein fell through, but the live performance with the opening speech and a subsequent interview with Gould a year or so later has been issued on CD.

    My question is: I have heard this performance referred to as "infamous."

    Why? Where can I find material characterizing it as such?

    The recording is unusual and the piece comes in at 55 minutes -- there is a lot of great music in the piece. I would not describe it, however, as a great concerto. It is more akin to a symphony with piano.
  2. 18 Jul '08 01:06
    http://www.epinions.com/content_92537982596
  3. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    18 Jul '08 02:04
    Originally posted by Siskin
    http://www.epinions.com/content_92537982596
    thanks - that was helpful.

    However, I do like this recording because it is so unusual.

    The version I first listened to many times is with Ormandy and Rudolph Serkin.
  4. Standard member uzless
    The So Fist
    18 Jul '08 18:28
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    thanks - that was helpful.

    However, I do like this recording because it is so unusual.

    The version I first listened to many times is with Ormandy and Rudolph Serkin.
    If you want additional info, contact these guys and they can direct you to where you need to go. They are very helpful.


    www.tso.ca
  5. 18 Jul '08 19:03
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    I got a question that's a little obscure, probably.

    In 1962 Leonard Bernstein conducted a performance of the Brahms D Minor Piano Concerto with Glenn Gould as the soloist.

    Gould insisted on an interpretation that Bernstein for various reasons found really far out. So Bernstein went out on stage before the performance and made a short, humorous speech ...[text shortened]... uld not describe it, however, as a great concerto. It is more akin to a symphony with piano.
    Maybe out of place ... but ....

    I love Brahms' piano concertos! 😀
  6. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    18 Jul '08 19:20
    Originally posted by scherzo
    Maybe out of place ... but ....

    I love Brahms' piano concertos! 😀
    now, see there is always some common ground somewhere
  7. 18 Jul '08 19:39
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    now, see there is always some common ground somewhere
    Only when staying out of the debates forum.
  8. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    18 Jul '08 20:29
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    thanks - that was helpful.

    However, I do like this recording because it is so unusual.

    The version I first listened to many times is with Ormandy and Rudolph Serkin.
    Have you listened to the CD? Is it as awful acoustically as the reviewer said?
    It sounds like they were not prepared the historic nature of the recording and had not given it professional treatment. I wonder if acoustic scientists could improve the sound, get rid of audience coughs, untincan the sound, etc.
  9. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    18 Jul '08 21:56
    I think I have it, right between my ABBA collector's box and the Judas Priest LP.
  10. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    18 Jul '08 22:09
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Have you listened to the CD? Is it as awful acoustically as the reviewer said?
    It sounds like they were not prepared the historic nature of the recording and had not given it professional treatment. I wonder if acoustic scientists could improve the sound, get rid of audience coughs, untincan the sound, etc.
    I have listened to the CD many times, both in a good home theater system, on the audiophile system I still have downstairs with all the bells and whistles, and also on a premium JBL system in my car. I find I have to make allowances for the fact it is not stereophonic, the audience makes a lot of noise, and the overall sound isn't as good as a studio version would be.

    None of that matters, ultimately, because what I hear very clearly is the way Gould plays this music - each and every note. Of course, I believe that was his real intent. His ego was huge as was his ability. But he was so eccentric that he could pass off what I think is his desire to be the center of attention throughout the piece as a desire to be consistent with the baroquish mood he claimed motivated his approach. It is noteworthy that Brahms, due to the genesis of this work not being a concerto, also had the idea of making the piano and orchestra more of an ensemble and not, as in the more conventional concertos of his time, a contest.

    I did not realize at first why this interpretation should be regarded as so far out. Music is now often played much more slowly than before it was possible to fit more than 60 minutes on a so-called long playing vinyl record.
  11. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    19 Jul '08 01:22
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    I have listened to the CD many times, both in a good home theater system, on the audiophile system I still have downstairs with all the bells and whistles, and also on a premium JBL system in my car. I find I have to make allowances for the fact it is not stereophonic, the audience makes a lot of noise, and the overall sound isn't as good as a studio versio ...[text shortened]... an before it was possible to fit more than 60 minutes on a so-called long playing vinyl record.
    You were lucky to get 60 minutes! More like 45, but I guess they could cut down the excursions of the grooves by cutting down the volume and cram more in, but the s/n would suffer some. I still love vinyl. There are some absolute gems out there like, well, you don't like folk music so much but I have some truly remarkable records where the performance was virtuosic and the sound recording was superb.
  12. 19 Jul '08 15:39
    http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Piano-Concerto-No-1/dp/B00000C28M/ref=pd_bbs_sr_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1216481762&sr=8-4

    you can buy mp3 download version for 99c a movement
  13. Standard member Nemesio
    Ursulakantor
    21 Jul '08 04:07
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    The recording is unusual and the piece comes in at 55 minutes -- there is a lot of great music in the piece. I would not describe it, however, as a great concerto. It is more akin to a symphony with piano.
    It's funny that you should describe it this way, because that's exactly how it was conceived.

    In the decades after Beethoven, because of the writings of such critics as E.T.A. Hoffman and
    A.B. Marx, composers of the 'Romantic' period were sort of gunshy when it came to writing
    symphonies. That is, anything they ever wrote was immediately compared to the monster
    symphonies of Beethoven, most notably 'The Ninth.'

    In the next generation of critics, Robert Schumann was one of the foremost voices. And, as
    Brahms developed into a composer in his own right, Schumann pulled a 'John-the-Baptist' card:
    He hailed Brahms as the 'messiah of the symphony,' the heir to Beethoven, &c &c &c. This was,
    of course, after a litany of so-called 'kleinmeister,' minor composers few people have heard of
    who strove to make their mark in the symphonic world, but failed because they were not
    evaluated on their own merits, but whether they sounded Beethovenian.

    Consequently, Brahms basically clammed up; any symphonic sketches he had were thrown away.
    Only two such pieces before his monumental first symphony survive (to my knowledge):
    The Piano Concerto in d, and the Piano Quintet in f.

    The way that composers sketched out symphonies was often in what is called 'short score,'
    which is basically two pianos; basically, one for the strings, the other for the winds (but not
    always quite so cut and dried). So, as Brahms was working these out, he decided that they
    simply would not do as symphonies, but that the material could be reworked in another fashion
    (thus, their final forms).

    This compositional technique bears itself out: if you have the occasion to play or listen to
    any of his four symphonies (or, for example, the symphonic Variations on a Theme by Haydn)
    in a two-piano arrangement, they are decidedly satisfying -- much more so than, say, the
    four-hand piano arrangements of Mahler's symphonies, or Bruckner's, or Dvorak's who were
    writing largely contemporaneously with him.

    Personally, of all his concerti, I find the d minor to be the least satisfying. The 'real' piano
    concerto (in that it was conceived from the outset as a piano concerto), the one in Bb, I find,
    is significantly better (alas, never recorded by Glenn Gould). And I'll take the Double Concerto
    and the Violin Concerto over the first piano concerto, personally.

    Nemesio
  14. Standard member Nemesio
    Ursulakantor
    21 Jul '08 04:17
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    I did not realize at first why this interpretation should be regarded as so far out. Music is now often played much more slowly than before it was possible to fit more than 60 minutes on a so-called long playing vinyl record.
    If memory serves, Gould's presentation was meant as a musicological challenge to the norms of
    the time. That is, Gould developed this notion of continuity of tactus (not his term) in which the
    fundamental beat of the piece remained the same. In order to make this work with the Brahms
    (which at the time was published without authentic metronome markings), he had to play the
    first movement slowly and the second movement quickly (relative to their 'Time Words'😉. Some
    years later, but in Glenn Gould's lifetime, they found Brahms' notes on the piece with his own
    metronome indications, which blew Gould's outlandish theory totally out of the water (not that it
    got any musicological recognition at the time). He was unperturbed, naturally.

    What is very, very interesting is that he employed this continuity in many of his other
    interpretations of pieces with varying degrees of success -- less so in Beethoven, but more so
    in Bach. In fact, one of the most important Bach scholars in academic circles, Don Franklin,
    has made a compelling argument about the use of proportion in Bach's music (I won't go into
    the long-winded explanation of it), stating that the essential tactus of a piece ought to be
    preserved across movements at least in proportion (1:2, 2:1, 3:2 [sesquialtera] and so on)
    except where a terminal fermata indicates otherwise (as distinct from a 'da capo' fermata).
    That is, Dr Franklin is promoting a compelling case for the sort of thing that Gould intuited about
    compositions.

    You can hear this continuity of tactus in a very pronounced way in his 1981 recording of the
    Goldberg Variations. If you tap along from variation to variation, you will see that Gould
    preserves the fundamental beat for several variations at a time. I find it a very organic performance.

    Nemesio
  15. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    21 Jul '08 11:24
    Nemesio, are you a musicologist or some such? You seem to have a deep appreciation of music.