John Polifronio wrote:
>To be precise, I've come over the years to quietly resent the cult of
>personality and adoration that seems inevitably to surround a handfull of
>artists in each generation. Once an artist becomes a "name," something
>often happens to these artists and their avid followers. It's hard to talk
>about what these changes are, not only because these effects can be subtle
>(though often very important aesthetically), but because the music world
>has become so sensitive concerning what is said about these "big names,"
>A customer of mine told me recently that "There's absolutely no doubt
>that Gould (is) the best interpreter of Bach's music." The problem with
>utterances like the above is not just that they're certainly and plainly
>nonsense, but that they have an intimidating effect on the hearer. You
>realize that you can't reasonably discuss your disagreement with their
>assessment of an artist's attributes.
I agree with this observation and I've been around long enough to have
a first-hand basis for such agreement. The distressing aspect of such
"idolatry" is that it admits to no discussion. The idolater's minds are
securely closed. And I always suspect anyone's opinion who is not at least
open to the possibility of altering it. Glen Gould's "fans" tend to be
just that, fanatical. It's a repeating generational phenomenon, as John
Currently, Gould's interpretations of Bach are not as well in-favor as they
once were although I must admit that I enjoy listening to his more recent
Goldberg Variations recording from time-to-time. It is not, however, the
reading of this work that I would take to a desert island with me.