Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Incorrect cover information but still superb
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 05/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nowhere else will you ever experience a more intricate, supple, and ethereal rendering of Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll" than the fine work which is recorded on this superb CD. Track 1 (24:28) presents us with the "original version" of Wagner's work, conveyed by a chamber orchestra of 13 instruments which, perhaps strangely to some, makes it infinitely more palatable than versions yielded up by a full orchestra which is typically how we have previously heard it. The instruments include: 2 violins, a viola, a cello, a double-bass, a flute, an oboe, 2 clarinets, a basoon, 2 French horns, and a trumpet.
Unfortunately, some overzealous marketing person saw to it that the front cover boldly states, "Gould's Conducting Debut and Final Recording". Unfortunately again, neither half of that assertion is true! Taking the first part of this statement first, apparently this person did not read the liner notes carefully which were correctly espoused by Benjamin Folkman. The marketing person involved misinterpreted what Folkman clearly said: "Tragically, THIS DEBUT PERFORMANCE (emphasis mine), released for the first time on the present album, proved to be a farewell, for the chronically hypertensive Gould succumbed to a fatal stroke on the following October 4th, nine days after his fiftieth birthday." (The original date referred to was July, 1982). Folkman was referring to Gould's conducting of the "Siegfried Idyll" itself, and not to Gould's other conducting instances, when he mentioned the word "dubut". But this is a small glitch and one which in no way affects the actual musical presentation in any way.
The fact is, (not from the liner notes), that Gould conducted Schoenberg's "Ode to Napoleon" at Stratford on July 9, 1956, from the podium, and not from the piano as he typically did. The very next year, he conducted the Fourth Movement of "Mahler's Symphony No. 2," (Maureen Forrester sang the contralto solo "Urlicht"), again from the podium, a performance which was filmed and broadcasted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) -- by all accounts, this was a flawless performance.
As to the comment that this was Gould's "final recording," the truth is, Gould's final recording was as a soloist, playing the early "Piano Sonata in B minor, opus 5," by Richard Strauss. Gould recorded this work in September, 1982, the actual month of his stroke, (Gould hung on for several days following his stroke, which actually occurred in September, and he ultimately died in October). Here is Gould's ACTUAL final recording:
Richard Strauss: Sonata, Op. 5; Piano Pieces, Op. 3
More on Gould's conducting, it was unorthodox -- he kept time with his left hand instead of the right and employed no baton. One of the reasons that Gould did so little conducting was attributed to extreme pain which he said he experienced in his back and shoulders when he did so. This is probably true to some degree but Gould was a hypochondriac of the First Water and frequently cited medical complaints to his manager, Walter Homburger, in order to facilitate the cancellation of a live concert performance.
Getting back to this CD, we also get to hear three additional and worthy piano transcriptions:
Track 2 -- The Prelude to Act I of "Die Meistersinger," (9:35)
Track 3 -- "Dawn" & "Siegfried's Rhine Journey," (from "Götterdämmerung," 13:12)
Track 4 -- "Siegfried Idyll," (23:31)
These piano transcriptions by the egocentric Gould, (whose birth name was actually Glenn Herbert Gold), epitomize the actuality of his prodigal talents. Typical to Gould they are quite intricate and infinitely "busy," employing hundreds of notational details with both hands. Gould was so outlandishly brazen about his playing that he once made the suggestion to RCA Victor technicians that they could "repair" a Vladimir Horowitz tape by inserting a measure played by himself! Still, listeners to these piano pieces will be quick to realize that Glenn Gould could, in fact, assert such unethical comments with a notable level of confidence -- the transcriptions here are brilliantly conceived and carried out.
Any fan of either Richard Wagner or of Glenn Gould would certainly be remiss in not hearing this near perfect ADD recording of some of Classical Music's most revered works."
The twilight album!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 02/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The last opus in the prestigious career of this polychrome and emblematic artist, an enigmatic thinker-musician-pianist reveals us how far a man can come.
Listening the astonishing musical maturity of Gould you can imagine how sad and painful was his premature departure, when still in his very early Fifties, Glenn had a lot of things to express and communicate.
Not only in what historical importance concerns, but the commitment level Gould reached in this farewell recording, whether or not a Gould 's fan, it 's a must-buy.
Specially for the new generations, born after 1982 and whom the name of Glenn Gould has been a reference obligated in their careers as well as product of countless indications and anecdotes about this singular and unforgettable Canadian artist whose integrity personal is bulletproof.