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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Bach Day

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 29 Mar 2000 21:53:05 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (50 lines)

John Polifronio:

>Well, humming most of the time, suggests a musical personality
>concerned more about calling attention to himself than to the music.

First, you have no evidence to support this other than some crotchet in
your head.  Or perhaps you knew Gould personally and very well.

>His disinclination to perform all but "heavy" works.  His contempt
>for public performance.  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.

1.  I don't see how his musical taste indicates a raging egomania.
Besides, it's a patently untrue statement.  How much of his discography
do you know? You consider Grieg and Bizet heavy?

2.  You're reading in contempt.  A far more valid (ie, one based on some
knowledge of Gould's life) reading would be that he disliked public
performance.  In fact, he was phobic about crowds and germs.

3.  He's entitled to his opinion.  Or is he entitled only to your opinion?

>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.

And what does any of this have to say about his musicianship?

>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.  And even then, can't we can question the
>validity of observations made about people we know intimately on the
>grounds that we're "too close" to them to know them impartially and in
>a balanced manner?

No, but your comments so far have been based on very few facts.  This
naturally leads to the question of exactly how you've arrived at your low
opinion of Gould the person.  I have no quarrel with your assessment of his
performance.  If it annoys you, it annoys you.  However, it seems to me
you're building a case of moral turpitude on little more than whim or on
"what it *has* to mean." Gould seems to me a far more complex person than
an immature egomaniac.

Steve Schwartz, an immature egomaniac who consequently knows whereof he
speaks

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