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09-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,595
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 11819
Reply to: 11819
Gould's Piano
Here's an interesting twist on some interesting remarks made in another recent post, namely: http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?postID=11814#11814

I just listened today to Gould's interview that was basically a promotion for his 1981 Goldberg Variations.

Maybe Gould was mad as a hatter, but certainly he was a towering genius and a VERY interesting conversationalist, as well.

Germane here, during the interview, Gould mentions his pianos, and he actually says he only cares about the action, and the sound will take care of itself beyond that!

Well, I have to say i think this is so much pig shit, but at the same time it makes me wonder again just how much influence "touch" has on the sound a given instrument delivers.

For example, like I said in that related post, I am pretty sure that not just any bassist could pick up the Koussevitsky and get it to sound so interesting, and perhaps the average bassist could not make it sound even decent.

I know from experience that great musicians can quickly get a crummy instrument to sound its best and that poor or average musicians can just flail with famous instruments.  It has been my understanding many of the best Strads are notoriously difficult to play, and I have certainly suffered through any number of "boutique" performances featuring "name" instruments, when the sound was not good even when the playing was OK.

To close, I will cite my favorite "clunker" guy, Walter Gieseking, whom I have seldom heard play a decent instrument  WG's case is one where the playing is superlative, and the range of tone and dynamics is mind boggling, yet it remains obvious that he is playing a piece of crap.  Looping back to Gould, I am VERY skeptical that he could make just any piano with a good actioon sound as phenomenal as either of his two Goldberg pianos.

I posted this in Musical Discussions because I think it is in the end a matter of music, musicianship and musical aesthetics, one way or another.  YMMV.

Paul S
09-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,076
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 11820
Reply to: 11819
I understand both of them.

You might want to buy of to read this book online:


It covers very well the Gould's need.

Also I think Gieseking and Gould's are different type of pianist with different demands. There are some other good pianists that did not care about the interments like Richter for instance and there are those who were superbly demanding for instrument quality.  I understand both of them.

The Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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