Originally posted by kirksey957
Nem, what's your take on this?
What do I think of the piece? I think it's a sublime solo cantata. Stylistically, it reminds one
of the opening movement of the sixth Brandenburg Concerto, with its pulsating but static bassline
over an imitative pair of strings.
What do I think of the performance? I find Baroque music on modern strings to be less satisfying
than on the older style gut strings. Furthermore, the sound of Glenn Gould's 'harpsipiano' that
he designed specifically for this piece is irritating beyond measure. That having been said, his
rendering of the figured bass is at times very, very creative. And I hate the sound of the countertenor;
it's a product of that late 50s/early 60s Bach as Wagner era (big orchestras, huge orchestras,
whiny soloists). He puts a fast vibrato on every single note. It's atrocious.
I personally find almost all of Gould's interpretations worthy of study, even when I categorically
disagree with them. He was unabashed in his self-centeredness -- he was totally uninterested
in what the composer may have wanted, but in what he could extract from the music -- and
I find this sort of honesty refreshing. And when playing the music he loved, he did so with an
unbridled ecstasy. I find myself unperturbed by his grotesqueries of gesture, his grunting, or
mannerisms. Most musicians I know who are intoxicated by the musical experience (as I am)
usually feel on the inside what he exudes on the outside. In that way, it's almost cathartic to
watch if you can suspend your disbelief at the social graces he violates at every turn.
Incidently, the recitative and second aria (which is totally different in character, being a fugue)
is at this link, for those interested in the whole piece.
Edit: I find this performance about a million times more satisfying.