John Polifronio wrote:
>Well, humming most of the time, suggests a musical personality concerned
>more about calling attention to himself than to the music. His
>disinclination to perform all but "heavy" works.
Dowland and Byrd heavy? "So you want to write a fugue", heavy? I think not.
Furthermore, Gould often parodied and poked fun at himself with the
characters such as Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornewaite and others.
>His contempt for public performance.
Mr. Gould didn't owe the public a damned thing. He made records because
he believed that this was the ideal way to make music. He detested public
performance and the public didn't seem to mind hearing him on records only
after 1953 (or whenever it was he stopped playing concerts.) Please don't
reply that he depended on the public for his livelihood either, because he
didn't. His father was well off and Gould had plenty of money when he quit
performing, and futher, it is well documented that his sparse lifestyle
didn't require a large income anyway. The money he did have (which by
today's dot.com standards was very modest) he left to good causes and
people in need (more than 50% of his estate went to shelter and protect
>His holier than thou pronouncements about the immorality of
>"ordinary" human beings. His cold-blooded, unapologetic and flippantly
>annotated mutilation of his recording of the Beethoven Appassionata sonata.
What is there to argue about the immorality of ordinary humans? Or has the
crime rate in LA dropped percipitously in the last 24 hours?
>Additionally, I make that assessment about him based on a general
>impression of the man derived from all the factors mentioned above as well
>as less easily quantifiable observations I've gained from his writings,
>photos, musical style, etc. I simply felt the man to exude an immodesty
>and preciosity about himself that annoys me.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think that you are dead
wrong. For all of his eccentricities, Gould was a kind and generous man
who not only did a lot of good in the world, he left behind a musical
legacy that has made me, for one, very happy and profoundly moved in more
than 20 years of listening to him. I am glad that he graced the planet.
>Your remark that I would have to know him personally in order to lend
>credibility to my view of the man is a dubious suggestion. It means that
>we can say nothing about anyone not in our immediate family or in our most
>intimate circle of friends.
I don't think that you are un-credible in your views, just wrong. And
that wrong is in return, my opinion only, with which you and others are
welcome to disagree without offending me in the least. I will however,
defend Gould, as I feel as strongly positive about the man as you feel
negative. It's the nature of discourse and ain't it grand!