John Polifronio writes:
>Humming on rare occasion isn't a problem; humming all the way through a
>work is another matter. It amounts to a re-instrumentation of the work
>performed. An instrumental work becomes a kind of vocal work. If Gould
>couldn't help himself, as you suspect, neither can we, in finding his
>vocal noises an intrusion on a work that requires a respectful silence
>as much from the musician performing the work as it does from audience
>members listening to it.
Several points. First, Gould sold an awful lot of recordings (as did
Rudolf Serkin, who also hummed) to people who were well aware of this tic.
Obviously, they didn't mind it enough to stop buying the records. Gould
(and Serkin) offered more than an annoying vocal accompaniment: how about
great piano playing and an individual, insightful interpretation? I'm with
Kevin Sutton on this one. Second, this "respectful silence": we're not
in church. You can "respect" a piece of music to death. Also, there's a
difference between the performer humming and an audience member doing so.
Without the performer humming, we don't get the music. The performer
doesn't calculate it, after all, any more than an audience member who
coughs once during a performance in the flu season.
>I also don't think that making a racket of any kind while performing a
>work is justified by the performer having been judged outstanding at his
>profession, by "some" people.
You mean like several generations of music lovers?