Writings about Music

Mozart Reenacted By Gould

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I was spellbound by this recording, never having heard it or even the composition in question before. It seemed the opening section was portrayed as an especially dramatic opera, and the fugue laid bare how Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart absorbed the essence of Johann Sebastian Bach while adding new dimensions. All in all, despite what Glenn may or may not have verbalized about Mozart, this performance seemed a dramatization of how Mozart’s compositions were oftentimes fully completed at the moment of notation, and so Gould intended this interpretation as if it were a spontaneous improvisation capturing Mozart in the startling heat of birth including an inherent roughness of the moment. The technical clarity is stunning amidst the deliberate edge.

Barney Bragin, a gifted piano teacher I had lessons with while a teenager, was impressed by my rendition of a Minuet by George Frideric Handel using two-part counterpoint I played from memory for him at our first meeting. Bragin told me he had thought this was Bach, and subsequently introduced me to the Bach Two-Part Inventions, a number of which I memorized, finding myself utterly delighted by their potent musicality. Barney had me listening to Glenn Gould's recording of the Inventions simultaneously, and the Canadian remains my favorite classical pianist.

Michael Robinson, June 2021, Los Angeles

 

© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

 

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and musicologist who has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University.