The Well-Tempered Music Guy

Simple thoughts by a simple listener on classical music

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hewitt and Gould

A reader named Will Farnaby recently left the following comment on the Angela Hewitt interview from Bachfest 2005:

As talented and dedicated as she is, one cannot help but remark that Angela Hewitt really should come to terms with her inferiority complex vis-a-vis Glenn Gould.

Instead of denigrating Gould - as she does in various of her interviews - she would be much wiser to strive to decrease the vast gulf that exists between her and the transcendent pianism and musicality of Glenn Gould.

Obviously, I completely disagree that there is any such "vast gulf." I'm not a fan of Gould at all, and even those who are must ackowledge that he was extremely unique and idiosyncratic. Any such comparison is silly.

More importantly, this comment implies that she has a "complex," and by merely saying that she draws no influence from Gould she is somehow "denigrating" him. Gould was simply his own animal, and anyone who has heard Ms. Hewitt's playing style -- clean, light, unfussy, almost no pedal -- would realize that it is about as different from Gould's as can be. Imagine being in her position: her playing is completely unlike Gould's, a musician she has nothing to do with; and yet simply because they share a nationality and an affinity for Bach (such as Gould claimed to be playing), she always has to answer the same stupid question about him. It's really my fault, I should have realized how silly a question that was.

And how exactly would she "decrease" that gulf? By waving her head about wildly? Ignoring the scores she plays? Painfully drawing pieces out to show her great, wild angst and Epic Seriousness? Just generally acting like a total weirdo, such that people will shake their heads in wonderment and say, "Wow, those geniuses..."? I like her the way she is: displaying and paying homage to the composer's genius.


Post a Comment

<< Home