Glenn Gould on recording

Pianist Glenn Gould discussed the recording process with Yehudi Menuhin completing the playback of a Bach gigue:

Now, Yehudi, you’ve got to admit that you would not be likely to encounter a sound like that in the concert hall…

The point is that, if I were to play that piece in a concert hall, as I have done many times – in fact, it used to be one of my party pieces – I would not be free to select the perspective we just heard; it represents a tight, clinical, X-ray-like view of that work, precise and at the same time intimate, which enables me to dissect it in a special way. On the platform, I would be forced to accept a compromised perspective – one which would be more or less equally acceptable to the listener down at the lip of the stage and to the standee up beyond the far balcony. I don’t need to tell you that, ultimately, one ends up with a perspective which is appropriate, if if at all, only for the listener in row L of the orchestra.”

Menuhin, Yehudi & Davis, Curtis (1979) The Music of Man. Toronto: Methuen, p.290-291.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist