Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work: A Study in Performance Practice

By Kevin Bazzana | Go to book overview

7
Dynamics

GOULD'S CONTROL OF dynamics was no less extraordinary than his control of rhythm; indeed, the two generally operated in tandem. Listen to his piano recording of Wagner Siegfried Idyll: o the immediate level the dynamic level rises and falls as the mood of the music demands, yet on the largest level one hears him realizing the whole work-all twenty-four minutes' worth--as a single, great dynamic hairpin that reaches a climax in bars 295-307, the passage in which the trumpet makes its only appearance in the original; in the final pages, from that climax to the end, his control over the gradual slackening of tempo and reduction in dynamic level must count as one of his most astonishing (if least showy) pianistic feats. It is a remarkable example, on a very large time scale, of a performance structured around a 'single culminating point' (to recall Rachmaninov's phrase). But it is only one example among many; Gould's control over small- and large- scale dynamic nuance was admired from the beginning of his career.1

Moreover, in his treatment of dynamics the freedom with which he interpreted musical scores is readily apparent, and not only in early music for which the composer provides no dynamic markings. At first glance, he seems to treat dynamics almost casually, much as Romantic pianists once did, with little regard for what is written in the score; he seems to have had no more regard for a composer's dynamics than most modern actors have for a playwrights' directions. As Carl Morey has shown, Gould's compositions often reached completion with no dynamic markings at all, and his written transcriptions of orchestral music did not, as a rule, incorporate the composer's dynamics, or expression markings, as integral aspects of the piece. In the final draft for the Siegfried Idyll (NLC 28/3), for example, he entered dynamic markings, along with recording and editing markings, in different (and obviously later) ink than the notes, probably at the time of his recording of the work. This is one of many pieces of evidence suggesting that he thought of dynamics as a function of a specific performance, of a particular interpretation of a musical structure, not as part of the notation that (in Nelson Goodman's terms) defines a musical work. Each interpretation implied its own dynamic plan,

____________________
1
Schafer, 59, writing in 1958 of the Toccata in Gould's recording of Bachs' Partita No. 6 in E minor, observes 'a beautiful pacing of dynamics here, from high to low to high to low again. The long four-and-a-half-page Durchführung of the middle part of the movement [bars 27-88] which Mr. Gould plays as a careful almost unbroken crescendo is a miracle.'

-204-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work: A Study in Performance Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents xiii
  • CONTENTS OF CD xiv
  • LIST OF PLATES xv
  • Contents xvi
  • NOTES ON FORMAT xviii
  • Abbreviations xxii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - PREMISSES 9
  • 1 - Aesthetics and Repertoire 11
  • 2 - The Role of the Performer 36
  • 3 - Performance as Discourse 85
  • Part II - PRACTICES 129
  • 4 - Gould and the Piano 131
  • 5 - Counterpoint 142
  • 6 - Rhythm 160
  • 7 - Dynamics 204
  • 8 - Articulation and Phrasing 215
  • 9 - Ornamentation 228
  • 10 - Recording Technology 238
  • Conclusion 253
  • LIST OF GOULD PERFORMANCES CITED 269
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY. 277
  • Index 291
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 300

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.