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#537499 - 07/04/06 04:38 AM How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
jon-nyc Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 2022
Loc: the left bank -- of the east r...
In the new Gould bio I read that he did a short documentary called How Mozart Became a Bad Composer that aired on public television in the US and Canada.

Some excerpts from the book (words in quotation marks are quoting the documentary itself):

He [Gould] took issue with the "facility for improvisation" that, he claimed, led Mozart to an over-reliance on conventional formulas in his compositions, most obviously in the "jaded, weary" works of his later years. In the C minor piano concerto [K 491]... Gould heard only "an appalling collection of cliches" of no greater potency than "inter-office memos".
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#537500 - 07/04/06 07:42 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
lol_nl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/06
Posts: 918
Loc: Ede, Netherlands
Gould didn't like Mozart. He once said that Mozart died too late rather than too early. Don't know why he has recorded the complete Mozart sonatas then. The set is better than I had expected, for someone who doesn't like Mozart.
_________________________
Yiteng

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is never enough for music."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff.

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#537501 - 07/04/06 09:34 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
In Gould's complete Mozart set, the liner notes of the version I have include a funny "dialogue" between Gould and Mozart that takes place in the afterlife. I believe it contains quotes from the documentary noted above.
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#537502 - 07/04/06 12:09 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Portland, Or.
I love Gould's paying of Bach, but not his playing of Mozart. Gould was pretty opinionated, and sometimes played Mozart's music to a point of distortion. I had a recording of his playing Mozart's Fantasia in d minor, and he did some strange things.For example, in some sections there are whole note rests, with the "hold" sign above them. Well, Gould, holds and holds and holds, and I kept thinking "come on, get on with it." His whole rendition of this composition is ludicrous.
I often wondered why, if he disliked Mozart so much he would have his playing of them recorded.Gaby Tu

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#537503 - 07/04/06 12:47 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
andrewp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/04
Posts: 494
Loc: united kingdom
Bazzana says in his Gould biography that Gould did no like Mozart and played him in such a way as to prove the point. Another way of looking at it might be that Mozart made Gould sound like a bad pianist...

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#537504 - 07/04/06 01:42 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I'm currently working on K310, so I pulled out the Gould collection to listen to it. He plays the first movement so fast it sounds as if it's the accompaniment to a silent film (the part when the girl is tied to the train tracks and the train is coming). He obviously found the repetition, lack of counterpoint, and predictable harmonies boring, missing the charm.
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#537505 - 07/04/06 01:56 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
lol_nl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/06
Posts: 918
Loc: Ede, Netherlands
He misses everything Mozart needs, but has everything Mozart doesn't need, so to me it still sounds genius.
_________________________
Yiteng

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is never enough for music."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff.

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#537506 - 07/04/06 02:02 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
CarlosKleiberist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Southern California
Gould recorded that Mozart set JUST to prove that Mozart is a bad composed...

technically speaking, he probably learned the entire thing in less than 5 hours.

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#537507 - 07/04/06 02:48 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1272
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Perhaps mr.Gould never listened to Mozart's Requiem?

He has no right to criticise a genius bigger than himself.

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#537508 - 07/04/06 03:02 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Helsinki, finland
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
He has no right to criticise a genius bigger than himself. [/b]
oh, come on. you never have opinions - positive or negative - about people smarter than yourself? Don't we have the right to think that a pianist plays bad even if we can't play better ourselves?

Unless YOU are the greatest genius in the world, I'd say that you have no right whatsoever to call Mozart a genius :rolleyes:
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#537509 - 07/04/06 05:30 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Waterfall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 293
Loc: North Carolina
When I learning K 310, I bought the Gould collection of Mozart sonatas, not knowing how much he hated Mozart. I listened the CDs several times. I was very befuddled. It was my first real experience of listening to a professional classical recording and thinking to myself, "I really HATE this."

I used those CDs as coasters for a long time ...

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#537510 - 07/04/06 08:53 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
blaude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 183
Loc: Houston, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
Perhaps mr.Gould never listened to Mozart's Requiem?

He has no right to criticise a genius bigger than himself. [/b]
I'm SURE Gould knew the Requiem, and I'm SURE that didn't change his opinion of Mozart at all. In fact, it was Mozart's later works which Gould hated the most. If I'm not mistaken, Gould said that one of the reasons he played Mozart was because it was 'the most fun he'd ever had, running his fingers up and down the keys.' So Gould at least enjoyed the purely physical aspect of Mozart's music.

Oh, and by your logic, should you really be critizing Mr. Gould?
_________________________
“The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”
-John Cage

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#537511 - 07/04/06 10:12 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Sonata Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 313
Loc: AK, NZ
Maybe, Gould has a totally different personality with Mozart, he couldn't understand his music at all! \:D
When he plays Bach, he feels proud; when he plays Mozart, he feels lost, that's why he hate Mozart. ;\)
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In my next life, I will become a pianist

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#537512 - 07/05/06 03:04 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
SCCDoug Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Canada
GG was often deliberately provocative, and even more frequently had his tongue planted firmly 'in cheek'. But at his core he remained true to his art. One of the reasons he remains so refreshing to us 25 years after his death is because of his uncompromising challenges to conventionality. I certainly did not agree with all or even many of his opinions, but growing up in Canada he was a hero to me because of his artistic integrity. He willingly abandoned fame and money to keep his independence, and ironically it was that choice that helped sustain his reputation to this day, no matter how silly some of his opinions might strike us now.
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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#537513 - 07/05/06 04:27 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
Gould's Mozart is bad news. It's all off. He had some pretty silly opinions. I don't know where he got them from. I think he was too isolated ,most of the time, especially when he was young, and when he was around people he was always talking to them about his ideas, and they listened because they thought it was something profound. Nothing profound really, just a big imagination.
Read this:http://aix1.uottawa.ca/~weinberg/hysteric.html
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#537514 - 07/05/06 06:17 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
I too, am not much of a fan of Mozart, aside from his requiem. His keyboard works especially bore me, they seem so contrived and happy all the time. The whole Classical era attitude seemed to hold that music was just a simple benefit of having the ability to hear sweet little melodies, whereas Bach... Bach wrote some of the most incredibly well crafted and technically perfect monuments of intellect and complexity, and at his time he wasn't even appreciated for his output that would fill volumes.

True, Bach did write for occasion, but his music seems much more real to me than Mozart's.

I prefer romanticism generally over all the rest, but I'd take Bach over Mozart any day. It's just so much more interesting.

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#537515 - 07/05/06 06:22 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1272
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Oh, great - so now Mozart is not genius according to you and Gould, while the rest of the world is sitting in bunch of lies still thinking that Mozart is a genius. heh

I am saying that Gould should not dare to criticize a myth. Mozart is a myth. Perhaps his Sonatas are not that deep, but please dial me if you write another Requiem even a quarter as good as the one Mozart wrote.

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#537516 - 07/05/06 06:25 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
 Quote:
please dial me if you write another Requiem even a quarter as good as the one Mozart wrote.
Hey, I have no complaints about his requiem. I think it's one of the finest pieces of music ever written.

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#537517 - 07/05/06 06:29 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1272
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
I was talking to Blaude.

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#537518 - 07/05/06 06:56 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
thoughtful Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 74
 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
He [Gould] took issue with the "facility for improvisation" that, he claimed, led Mozart to an over-reliance on conventional formulas in his compositions...In the C minor piano concerto [K 491]... Gould heard only "an appalling collection of cliches" of no greater potency than "inter-office memos". [/b]
For those of you who havn't spoken, what do you think about Gould's argument?

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#537519 - 07/05/06 07:48 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
i heard such arguement (like Gould's) before (though don't recall where i read it) that Mozart follows certain formulas to compose which is the reason he could compose anything quick and even in his mind. i don't know what to think of it, but i tend to agree about it to a certain degree, because i do find some similarities (or just segments of similarities) among his various works (sonatas, concertos, etc.), and wonder if that's caused by certain 'formulas' he used.

i can't argue anymore about it though...

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#537520 - 07/05/06 08:10 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
blaude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 183
Loc: Houston, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
Oh, great - so now Mozart is not genius according to you and Gould, while the rest of the world is sitting in bunch of lies still thinking that Mozart is a genius. heh

I am saying that Gould should not dare to criticize a myth. Mozart is a myth. Perhaps his Sonatas are not that deep, but please dial me if you write another Requiem even a quarter as good as the one Mozart wrote. [/b]
hahaha

When did I ever say Mozart wasn't a genius? I was just defending Gould's rather contrived, tongue-in-cheek opinions. Have you ever read any of the Glenn Gould reader? It's a hilarious read, whether you agree with him or not.

You sound like Glenn's mommy, you realize that right? 'Glenn, don't you dare criticize Mozart. He's a legend, and you're not!' (Ironically 'Mozart' was a dirty word when Gould was a child, because his mother did not want to exploit her son as a prodigy.)

People can criticize whomever they want. It's a sign of awareness and cogency, which are two of the human race's greatest gifts. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy when YOU critize GLENN GOULD, so, to take a chapter out of your book,

Please dial me when you can play the Goldberg Variations even 1/1,000,000th as well as Gould.

Thanks.
_________________________
“The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”
-John Cage

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#537521 - 07/06/06 02:48 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
In this forum, you always talk about how bad Gould's recordings of the sonatas are. Has anyone of you heard him playing the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491. I think it's the best and most interesting recording of the concerto out there.

B.H.Haggin, one of the more formidable Mozarteans among American critics, described Gould's recording of the concerto as "one of the greatest performances I have ever heard." Another noted American critic, Herbert Glass, has said that of all the recordings of this concerto he returns to this one by Gould again and again because it is the most vital and interesting.

If you have heard it, please let me know what you think. If you haven't, please listen to it.
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#537522 - 07/06/06 10:48 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
gordonf238 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 283
Loc: NYC
Gould didn't like anyone other than Bach and Schoenberg. He was also very well worded and loved critiquing music he disliked with an overly pompous tone. I do however love his reference to the Beatles:

"Theirs [the Beatles] is a happy, cocky, belligerently resourceless brand of harmonic primitivism... In the Liverpudlian repertoire, the indulgent amateurishness of the musical material, though closely rivaled by the indifference of the performing style, is actually surpassed only by the ineptitude of the studio production method.

Personally, I too find Mozart's piano music uninspiring. His melodies lack maturity and depth. He ornaments some of his pieces with subtle touches of texture and trills, but in the end it's still the bland emptiness that prevails. His later orchestral and symphonic works are a different story, but when it comes to piano music, it's only a notch above Twinkle Twinkle little star.

With those bold statements aside, Gould was a very knowledgeable intellectual. You might even use the term "Western intellectual". He spent his entire life living in solitude, and when he wasn't reading or studying music, he was digesting data from the medical lexicon (being that he was a hypochondriac).

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#537523 - 07/06/06 10:50 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by thoughtful:
 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
He [Gould] took issue with the "facility for improvisation" that, he claimed, led Mozart to an over-reliance on conventional formulas in his compositions...In the C minor piano concerto [K 491]... Gould heard only "an appalling collection of cliches" of no greater potency than "inter-office memos". [/b]
For those of you who havn't spoken, what do you think about Gould's argument? [/b]
I would argue that Gould didn't hear just an appalling collection of cliches, and so on, in the C minor concerto. I think he heard an appealing collection of cliches. I would base my case on another statement by Gould, which would seem to support my argument... "The last movement of the C minor concerto is a brilliant series of brilliant variations; the whole concerto is an appealing collection of cliches slightly regilded, although I do not really like the first nor the second movement all that much." Yes, yes, yes, I was actually paraphrasing, but Gould did say or write (or both) something very much like that in effect.

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#537524 - 07/06/06 10:55 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
gordonf238 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 283
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
Perhaps mr.Gould never listened to Mozart's Requiem?

He has no right to criticise a genius bigger than himself. [/b]
Mozart's Requiem was not written for solo piano, was it? It's a piece written for orchestra and choir.

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#537525 - 07/06/06 11:09 AM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
gordonf238 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 283
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
Oh, great - so now Mozart is not genius according to you and Gould, while the rest of the world is sitting in bunch of lies still thinking that Mozart is a genius. [/b]
Well, the rest of the world also believes in an omnipotent, all-knowing being that lives in the clouds and is the undisputed creator of life and earth. The rest of the world is also glued to the TV watching reality shows and buying a new iPod every year because a company tells them to think different. Just because most people think Mozart was a genius doesn't make it so. For what it's worth, the masses usually base their ill-informed opinions on incomplete knowledge and/or flawed understanding. There is only a handful of individuals who can appreciate classical music these days, the rest seems more excited about repetitive 4-beat melodies that loop the same old chord progression, briefly interrupted by a chorus "Hit me baby one more time".

Personally, I wouldn't take their opinion on Mozart's genius seriously. These are the same people who view the movie "Amadeus" as a historically accurate account of the composer.

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#537526 - 07/06/06 01:11 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
blaude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 183
Loc: Houston, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by gordonf238:
Gould didn't like anyone other than Bach and Schoenberg. [/b]
Well, that's not quite true. His self proclaimed 'favorite' composer was none other than Orlando Gibbons, the English Tudor composer from the late Renaissance. He adored Richard Strauss, and plenty of Wagner. He liked plenty of Beethoven's music, especially earlier works. His favorite Beethoven concerto was the second one, in B-flat. He even likes the moonlight sonata! He liked Mendelssohn's choral works, and even some of Brahms' music. He thought Bizet's piece "variations chromatique" (something like that) was one of the greatest works of the romantic era, and even enjoyed his first symphony. Also, there is plenty of Bach he didn't like, most notably the fugue from the chromatic fantasy and fugue.
_________________________
“The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”
-John Cage

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#537527 - 07/06/06 02:26 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
 Quote:
Originally posted by gordonf238:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
Oh, great - so now Mozart is not genius according to you and Gould, while the rest of the world is sitting in bunch of lies still thinking that Mozart is a genius. [/b]
Well, the rest of the world also believes in an omnipotent, all-knowing being that lives in the clouds and is the undisputed creator of life and earth. The rest of the world is also glued to the TV watching reality shows and buying a new iPod every year because a company tells them to think different. Just because most people think Mozart was a genius doesn't make it so. For what it's worth, the masses usually base their ill-informed opinions on incomplete knowledge and/or flawed understanding. There is only a handful of individuals who can appreciate classical music these days, the rest seems more excited about repetitive 4-beat melodies that loop the same old chord progression, briefly interrupted by a chorus "Hit me baby one more time".[/b]
I love you.

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#537528 - 07/06/06 03:17 PM Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1272
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
I don't think "Amadeus" is real at all. I also think, that you, me, or even THE GREATEST GENIUS OF ANY TIME, shouldn't criticise Mozart that hard. iPod and Mozart? I can see your level of comparing things. LOW.

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