Gould in conversation with McClure

Cribs 2015.10.01 13:00

"I think people go to concerts because it kindles memories. And they want to do that simply because in kindling those memories they feel it in some way they've got a proximity with music—they haven't of course, it's total self-deception. And most people who go to concerts are certainly not musicians and care very little about music, I think."

On why he hums: Which is euphemized by McClure as "vocal accompaniment."

"It's very difficult. And it's one of those centipedal[sic] questions, you know. Schoenberg once said that he would not willingly be asked by any of his composition students exactly why such and such process served him well because it was in danger of making him feel like that centipede was asked in which order he moved its hundred legs and afterwards he could move no legs at all. There's something impotent-making about that question. I'm rather afraid of it.

[. . .]

I can't do without it—I would if I could—it's a terrible distraction. I don't like it. I would resent any artist whose records I bought indulging himself that way and I don't see why anyone puts up with it. We do the best we can, we put as many baffles around the piano as we can. I can only say I play very much less well if I don't indulge in a few vocal elaborations."

On his tempi: Is this sort of a perverse desire to do something different from what everyone else has done?

"It certainly is perverse. I think that if there's any excuse at all for making a recording it's to do it differently, to approach the work from a totally recreative point of view that one is going to perform this particular work as it has never been heard before. And if one can't quite do that I would say abandon it; forget about it; run to something else where you can feel a bit differently about it."

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