How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould

Posted by: jon-nyc

How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 04:38 AM

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".
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 07:42 AM

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.
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 09:34 AM

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.
Posted by: gabytu

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 12:09 PM

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
Posted by: andrewp

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 12:47 PM

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...
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 01:42 PM

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.
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 01:56 PM

He misses everything Mozart needs, but has everything Mozart doesn't need, so to me it still sounds genius.
Posted by: CarlosKleiberist

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 02:02 PM

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.
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 02:48 PM

Perhaps mr.Gould never listened to Mozart's Requiem?

He has no right to criticise a genius bigger than himself.
Posted by: fnork

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 03:02 PM

 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:
Posted by: Waterfall

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 05:30 PM

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 ...
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 08:53 PM

 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?
Posted by: Sonata

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/04/06 10:12 PM

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. ;\)
Posted by: SCCDoug

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 03:04 PM

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.
Posted by: Contrapunctus

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 04:27 PM

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
Posted by: Reaper978

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 06:17 PM

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.
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 06:22 PM

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.
Posted by: Reaper978

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 06:25 PM

 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.
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 06:29 PM

I was talking to Blaude.
Posted by: thoughtful

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 06:56 PM

 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?
Posted by: signa

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 07:48 PM

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...
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/05/06 08:10 PM

 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.
Posted by: David Ramezani

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 02:48 AM

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.
Posted by: gordonf238

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 10:48 AM

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).
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 10:50 AM

 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.
Posted by: gordonf238

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 10:55 AM

 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.
Posted by: gordonf238

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 11:09 AM

 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.
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 01:11 PM

 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.
Posted by: Reaper978

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 02:26 PM

 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.
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 03:17 PM

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.
Posted by: fnork

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 04:27 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by ecm:
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. [/b]
may I ask why not?
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 08:37 PM

No you may not.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 09:19 PM

This is a quote from wikipedia:

"Glenn Gould frequently hummed along while he played, and his recording engineers varied in how successfully they could exclude his voice from his recordings. Gould claimed this singing was unconscious, and increased proportionately with the inability of the piano in question to realise the music as he intended.

Gould also was known for his peculiar body movements while playing and for his insistence on sameness. He would only play concerts whilst sitting on a chair his father made. He continued to use this chair even when the seat was completely worn through [2]. His chair is so closely identified with him that it is shown in a place of honour in a glass case in the National Library of Canada.

Gould was very afraid of being cold and wore very warm clothes, including gloves, at all times, even when he was in warm places. Gould also disliked social functions. He had an aversion to being touched and in later life he refused to talk to almost anyone in person, relying on the telephone and letters for communication. He conducted interviews with himself, wrote unusual personal advertisements about himself which he submitted to newspapers, and recorded other people's conversations in public places. When he was still performing publicly, he did a concert with the Cleveland Orchestra, after which conductor George Szell remarked: "No doubt about it - that nut's a genius".

Gould was not without a sense of humor, as for example in his creation of numerous alter egos for satirical, humorous or didactic purposes. From the liner notes to Sony CD SM2K-52597, "Bach Partitas, Preludes and Fugues", page 14:

"David Johnson", of course, was none other than Gould himself, the first in a long line of more than two dozen fictional characters whom Gould was to impersonate during the coming years, and of whom the most famous are the German composer "Karlheinz Klopweisser", the English conductor "Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite", and the American pianist "Theodore Slutz".
Fran's Restaurant was a constant haunt of Gould's. A CBC profile noted:

Sometime between two and three every morning Gould would go to Fran's, a 24-hour diner a block away from his Toronto apartment, sit in the same booth and order the same meal of scrambled eggs. (Source: CBC) "


This guy sounds crazy to me!
He was a good pianist, but to hate a composer because the composer was popular makes no sense!
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 09:21 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Reaper978:
 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. [/b]
lets not go that far
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/06/06 11:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Debussy20:

This guy sounds crazy to me!
He was a good pianist, but to hate a composer because the composer was popular makes no sense! [/b]
When did he ever say that he hated Mozart because he was popular?

And 'crazy' isn't the best word. He was, in fact, a 'sane' human being. 'Eccentric' I think is the word you're looking for. 'Genius' works too. Szell said it best.
Posted by: Reaper978

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 12:21 AM

 Quote:
This guy sounds crazy to me!
He sounds like a higher level human being. He was an artist, and from what I can gather, he really didn't care what other people thought of him. He did what he loved, and he did a damn fine job of it. I think he was a genius, and a fine testament to what humanity can achieve.

Don't call someone crazy just because they don't fit in any of our neat and tidy little categories.
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 10:48 AM

"He was an artist, and from what I can gather, he really didn't care what other people thought of him."

I think he cared a great deal what other people thought of him. Most, if not all, of his eccentricies sprang from his being attention sick.

As for geniuses who thought very highly of Mozart's music:

Albert Einstein (the physicist, philosopher, and amateur violinist and pianist... Mozart was *the* favourite composer of his), Vladimir Horowitz (his, too), Beethoven, Haydn, Richard Wagner (even he: read Cosima's diaries), Kierkegaard (the most significant 19th century philosopher according to Wittgenstein... Kierkegaard more or less literally worshipped Mozart, and thought Don Giovanni the greatest work of art ever made), the list could go on, and on, but I think I made my point...
Posted by: Max W

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 11:13 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Debussy20:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Reaper978:
 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. [/b]
lets not go that far
Actually Hit Me Baby One More Time must have at least 5 chords I think.
Posted by: gordonf238

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 02:33 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
I think he cared a great deal what other people thought of him. Most, if not all, of his eccentricies sprang from his being attention sick.[/b]
What do you base that statement on? Glenn Gould was anything but an attention whore. He despised publicity, he rarely socialized with his fans and never even took on a student. And I say this having read a book and a handful of articles about him. Can you cite a source that depicts him as an attention whore who loved the adulation of yes-men and groupies?
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 06:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gordonf238:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
I think he cared a great deal what other people thought of him. Most, if not all, of his eccentricies sprang from his being attention sick.[/b]
What do you base that statement on? Glenn Gould was anything but an attention whore. He despised publicity, he rarely socialized with his fans and never even took on a student. And I say this having read a book and a handful of articles about him. Can you cite a source that depicts him as an attention whore who loved the adulation of yes-men and groupies? [/b]
And I said what I said having read books about, or containing writings by, him.

If we ignored my having played Gould by saying only a part of what I think, and even that part in a provocative way, I should base my statement on the facts that only a badly mentally deficient person wouldn't care about what others think of him or his doings, and that Gould wasn't badly mentally deficient. Gould was a bit different, sure, or just stubborn, and so, a public figure and an artist as he was, he had to develop all kinds of mental coping mechanisms to handle criticism. However, he mostly employed emotion focused strategies, like minimizing or belittling the value of something, changing his values, lying, or telling only half-truths, to himself and others in general, etc....

From Wikipedia: "Emotion focused strategies occur when the person modifies the way [he thinks], for example: employing denial, or distancing oneself from the problem. [A person] may alter the way [he thinks] about a problem by altering [his] goals and values, such as by seeing the humour in a situation."

At some point, Gould couldn't anymore or didn't want to cope with the stress he had to face in his own live performances...

Or that's how I see it, you are free to have your own view.

I could also ask whether you have done some real statistical studies concerning the correlation between this and that, or concerning the amount of stupid people in general, or whatever, but I'm not interested...
Posted by: PianoBeast10489

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 08:10 PM

As much as I respect Gould's opinion, I really think he is wrong.

"'Gould heard only "an appalling collection of cliches" of no greater potency than "inter-office memos.'"

Yes, cliches, cliches that MOZART created. I'm sorry, but I just don't agree with Gould at all in this case.
Posted by: Bernard

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 08:31 PM

Don't all composers have formulas? I think they do to a certain extent. Certainly Rachmaninov, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, et. al. are recognizable due to their favorite techniques of composition.

Maybe it's simply that Mozart's music makes his formulas (cliches?) easier to hear. His music is pretty exposed.

I love Mozart's music. It is pristine like no other I can think of.
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 08:53 PM

I'm totally lost. Is there even an argument anymore? It seems like most of us here agree that Gould was a great pianist, and Mozart was a great composer.

So Gould had some curious ideas sometimes, big deal.

You can't watch this clip and tell me he wasn't sane and frankly quite eloquent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkjmdHpPWwA&search=glenn%20gould

And you can't watch this clip and not think he was a little looney:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57kR6RsV2iA&search=glenn%20gould

(He's singing Mahler to a bunch of elephants, how can you not love this guy?)

And you can't watch these clips and tell me he wasn't a genius:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRYcbatSA4k&search=glenn%20gould
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji_L_9MZoqw&search=glenn%20gould
Posted by: sylvie

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 08:54 PM

I think it just boils down to a question of a person's preference for music. While I enjoy listening to classical music, not all of it is wonderful, and some I like more than others.

And besides, can anyone really say whose music was the 'best'? I don't think there is a 'best composer' out of all of them -- they're all different.

I just think that anyone that can compose music at a very young age has some kind of genius in them. And Mozart was one of them.
Posted by: Matthew Collett

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/07/06 09:36 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
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]
I'm reminded of the man who thought Shakespeare an over-rated poet, on the grounds that all he did was string together familiar quotations.

Best wishes,
Matthew
Posted by: debrucey

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 11:53 AM

Mr Gould is clearly a moron, and needs a good pepper-spraying.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 12:02 PM

Its like you read my mind man....
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 12:05 PM

Gould's biggest problem is he wrote in such a way that urges people to take sides rather than discuss the issue.

Gould's opinion of Mozart is low because Mozart didn't painstakingly craft each and every note. In Bach, like Schoenberg, like most of Gould's favored composers, each note has a place and makes a substantive structural contribution. In Mozart, the notes don't always have structural significance. They rather hang upon the structure like ornaments on a tree.

What Gould's trying to do is not make people decide whether or not they agree with Glenn Gould. He's asking us to decide where the genius resides - in the making of the tree, or the decorating.
Posted by: Horace

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 12:22 PM

That's interesting, thanks Kreisler. But I always thought popular conception of Mozart's work was that there's a "perfection" about his choices of notes, not too few nor too many, just right for the intended effect, which wouldn't seem compatible with your explanation of why Gould felt as he did.
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 12:45 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Horace:
That's interesting, thanks Kreisler. But I always thought popular conception of Mozart's work was that there's a "perfection" about his choices of notes, not too few nor too many, just right for the intended effect, which wouldn't seem compatible with your explanation of why Gould felt as he did. [/b]
No, it is still compatible with Kreisler's defition. When people talk about the 'perfection' of Mozart's music, they're talking about his ability to achieve the greatest order, balance, and proportion with the smallest means possible. Thus Mozart achieved great simplicity and yet great depth. The fact remains, however, that Mozart's music is largely homogeneous, like most of the music from the galant composers through most of the early romantic era. Gould simply was not as interested in music which acheived depth through simple and homogeneous means. He preferred complex, heterogeneous, contrapuntal music. Mozart just did not satisfy this desire for Gould.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 09:19 PM

Reaper,

If you think Mozart's music is happy all the time, try the Fantasia and Sonata in C minor.
Posted by: Reaper978

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 10:07 PM

 Quote:
Mr Gould is clearly a moron, and needs a good pepper-spraying.
Please, my dear sir, let us not insult each other. If Gould has insulted others than I will happily disagree with what he has said.

 Quote:
Reaper,

If you think Mozart's music is happy all the time, try the Fantasia and Sonata in C minor.
His Fantasia is an interesting piece and it seems very uncharacteristic of him to write something like that, just as the Requiem seems. I haven't heard the C-minor sonata. But I think it's safe to say that most of what he wrote was in a major key, and he thus, in my opinion, lacked the emotional range that he could have achieved. He only wrote two piano concertos in a minor key. I really just don't connect with most of what he wrote.

It's safe to say that I relate to minor more than major.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 10:32 PM

Mozart wrote in a variety of styles. Most of the piano, chamber, and symphonic music is in the popular galant style.

For religious music, including the Requiem, the predominant style was far more serious and contrapuntal in character, thus his religious works are quite different than the secular works.
Posted by: blaude

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/09/06 11:57 PM

I think it's a little misleading to say that much of Mozart's music was written in the galant style. Usually that term is used to refer to the style which acted as a precursor to the Viennese classical style.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/10/06 12:52 AM

Sorry...I suppose it would be more correct to say that his earlier chamber works were based on galant writing. (Specifically, the works of J.C. Bach, Abel, and Leopold Mozart.) The religious music was not influenced nearly as much by galant but rather pre-baroque and baroque practice.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/10/06 04:16 AM

Very informative posts, Kreisler and Blaude.

I will never doubt the validity of Mozart's genius.....however, as an artist, I do find him frustrating to perform precisely because of this simplicity. When such a mastery of simplicty is achieved, it in itself is a beautiful thing, but it actually allows for very little interperative liberties on part of the performer (as opposed to Scriabin or Rachmaninoff, where there are almost infinate freedoms allowable to the performer in terms of tempi, dynamics, color, etc). There is really only one way to play Mozart: Clean and crisp. Learning how to project this perfect simplicity is, of course, an art in itself, but a very hard one.
Posted by: ecm

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/10/06 06:13 AM

That time it was popular to write like Mozart did. Listen to the composers from those periods, Haydn, Salieri.. Only Mozart's music is more genius than those.
Posted by: Bassio

Re: How Mozart Became a Bad Composer - by Glenn Gould - 07/10/06 02:47 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Opus_Maximus:
Very informative posts, Kreisler and Blaude.

I will never doubt the validity of Mozart's genius.....however, as an artist, I do find him frustrating to perform precisely because of this simplicity. When such a mastery of simplicty is achieved, it in itself is a beautiful thing, but it actually allows for very little interperative liberties on part of the performer (as opposed to Scriabin or Rachmaninoff, where there are almost infinate freedoms allowable to the performer in terms of tempi, dynamics, color, etc). There is really only one way to play Mozart: Clean and crisp. Learning how to project this perfect simplicity is, of course, an art in itself, but a very hard one. [/b]
I agree with your nice post opus maximus

Damn mozart is the most difficult composer to play

i agree with the quote that says that it is very easy for children but very difficult for artists

 Quote:
That time it was popular to write like Mozart did. Listen to the composers from those periods, Haydn, Salieri.. Only Mozart's music is more genius than those.
can you elaborate more than this ecm please (or any other one please)

i am really ignorant when it comes to the classical period

i love his k545 .. and since i haven't listened to much mozart .. i also like many of you wonder what are his more "serious moody" pieces if i may say other than the requiem and the religious works?

any info on this genius composer will be appreciated \:\)