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Topic: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff  (Read 4162 times)

Offline bachforlife

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Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
on: March 11, 2021, 06:50:33 PM
Just like the title, this is a topic asking for your opinions on Gould and Schiff and who plays Bach better. Everyone's taste is different and I want to see who you prefer and listen to when it comes to Bach.
So Gould or Schiff?
 :)

Offline lelle

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #1 on: March 11, 2021, 08:42:15 PM
Schiff, hands down. I find some of Gould's Bach very strange, and not in a good way. It's like some weird thought experiment on what you *could* do with Bach, and not based on what's actually in the score and what could be reasonably be interpreted as being in the range of what Bach intended musically.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 09:30:24 PM
I like them both. Gould especially for his second recording of the Goldbergs, but also for many other things. Some of his recordings have gotten old for me, but they always bring out something in the music that I hadn't noticed before. Schiff is more neutral, less likely to make you say "Wow, I never thought of that," but also less likely to be off putting. I also like Jeremy Denk's Bach performances a lot.

Offline leethoven

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #3 on: March 14, 2021, 04:29:04 PM
While both of them are renowned Bach masters, Glenn Gould truly interprets Bach. He plays with a unbreakable glowing magical bubble around him that makes his playing unique and special. He devotes his entire soul and being to Bach when he is playing, and he didn't "play" Bach, but he brings Bach's core out. Every time I listen to his recordings, I would fall in love with Bach's works all over again, no matter how many times I listen. He remains as one of my favourite pianists today. András Schiff is more standard, and not many people finds "fault" in his playing. But he doesn't touches me like the way Glenn Gould always does.

Just my passionate two cents.
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Offline lelle

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #4 on: March 15, 2021, 09:56:22 PM
Not to be contentious but I do not understand how Gould brings out Bach's core if he plays like this:



Is this really the character Bach intended?

I feel there are many other examples where I find his tempo and articulation choices very weird.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #5 on: March 15, 2021, 10:14:34 PM
Not to be contentious but I do not understand how Gould brings out Bach's core if he plays like this:



Is this really the character Bach intended?

I feel there are many other examples where I find his tempo and articulation choices very weird.

Gould is often weird, but often beautiful and interesting. In this prelude, although it's not my favorite of his recordings, I think I see what he's looking at. If you look at what Bach has written, there is much more there than a steady stream of 16th notes. Because of the varying distances between the first note of each quadruplet from the second through fourth notes different measures have different rhythmic feels and the first notes of each group become more or less prominent (even on a harpsichord) in ways that suggest different articulations. Gould, to me, is sort of magnifying those subtle variations in the character of each measure and it brings out something that I think *was* part of what Bach had in mind (but he's dead so who knows, anyway).  I agree that sometimes Gould seems freakish and draws more attention to his own weirdness than to Bach, but often, for me, anyway, he puts a spotlight on something I'd not noticed before and it's often great.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #6 on: March 15, 2021, 10:26:59 PM
I feel there are many other examples where I find his tempo and articulation choices very weird.

Yeah, I somewhat doubt the hyper-detached articulation is "normal":  I suppose it just amused Gould for some reason.  It's far from his weirdest performance, but it's an unusual choice.  I could be misremembering and others may have used that idea, but I really don't remember.

Maybe it could be defended musicologically or musically, but TBH I can't stand that particular prelude, so I'm not inclined to investigate further.  ;D

Gould, to me, is sort of magnifying those subtle variations in the character of each measure and it brings out something that I think *was* part of what Bach had in mind (but he's dead so who knows, anyway).

Yeah, I mean the idea didn't come from nowhere:  I'd call it a reasonable interpretation.  It's still pretty oddly mechanical as a performance, but Gould does hit the melody notes nicely, if you want to call them that.
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #7 on: March 18, 2021, 09:42:27 PM
Gould is often not my cup of tea - too eccentric for my taste. But Schiff does not really excite me either. It's very hard to find a Bach pianist that truly satisfies, I think. Does anyone have any suggestions?  ;D

Offline music.

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #8 on: March 19, 2021, 05:25:27 PM
True. Sometimes Glenn Gould would play the weirdest things, sometimes he would actually touch me with his interpretation.

I believe that Bach is supposed to be dry, but at the same time with an "organ" echo. When you play Bach on a piano-forte, it's very different from the modern piano's tone. The sound is less full and round. That's how Bach should sound, in my opinion. Though Bach is free interpretation, a lot of people get the sound, feeling, and tone obscurely wrong. I do like Gould's interpretation because he sounds like Bach, and he brings out things that I've never noticed before. Bach's compositions had a lot of depth that Gould revealed from time to time. I see a new layer every time.

Sometimes I think Schiff uses too much pedal, like his partitas and his Well-Tempered Klavier. And occasionally I don't feel like Schiff plays Bach. But Schiff plays well and I listen to most of his recordings.

About other pianists who play Bach well? Famous pianists like Argerich, Kissin, Horowitz, etc. play horribly. Lang Lang shouldn't touch Bach.

Nicolas Economou was one of the best pianists who played Bach skillfully. I listen to his interpretations when I'm not listening to Gould or Schiff. I like Economou more than Schiff.

A lot of unknown or less famous pianists satisfies, but I always find something off.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #9 on: March 19, 2021, 06:39:45 PM
Sometimes I think Schiff uses too much pedal, like his partitas and his Well-Tempered Klavier. And occasionally I don't feel like Schiff plays Bach. But Schiff plays well and I listen to most of his recordings.

That's strange, because Schiff is adamant about not using pedal at all when playing Bach.

Offline nw746

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #10 on: March 19, 2021, 09:40:19 PM
About other pianists who play Bach well? Famous pianists like Argerich, Kissin, Horowitz, etc. play horribly. Lang Lang shouldn't touch Bach.

Nicolas Economou was one of the best pianists who played Bach skillfully. I listen to his interpretations when I'm not listening to Gould or Schiff. I like Economou more than Schiff.

A lot of unknown or less famous pianists satisfies, but I always find something off.
I think generally if you're playing Bach on the piano you should embrace that you're essentially playing transcriptions. So I generally find performers like Maria Tipo or Sergio Fiorentino successful (because they have completely reimagined the music for the piano, essentially making their own arrangements) or people who perform the Busoni transcriptions etc. Transferring the harpsichord style to the piano is less successful for me, I don't like Gould at all generally for example, although I don't mind Wolfgang Rübsam's piano recordings (he is normally an organist and harpsichordist himself). But other harpsichordists  who have performed Bach on the piano (Robert Levin, Virginia Black) generally don't do much for me either.

On harpsichord, for Bach interpretations I will generally turn to Gustav Leonhardt or Masaaki Suzuki, but don't think a note for note imitation of their styles would work on the piano. Maybe a 1740s Silbermann pianoforte.

For the topic question I do prefer András Schiff even though he romanticises the music somewhat (adding dynamics, etc). Gould I find entirely self-obsessed, even in his more successful performances.

Offline leethoven

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #11 on: March 24, 2021, 11:08:56 PM
Am I just the only one who prefers Gould over Schiff? A pity :'(.
                                                                                          ~leethoven

Offline music.

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Re: Glenn Gould vs. András Schiff
Reply #12 on: March 29, 2021, 07:03:08 PM
Am I just the only one who prefers Gould over Schiff? A pity :'(.
                                                                                          ~leethoven
No you're not. I prefer Gould over Schiff as well. It's just sometimes people don't exactly understand Gould, but those who do feel what he felt. Gould, in my opinion, was such a unique pianist that many find him controversial. Schiff, like I mentioned before, doesn't interest me, but I listen to him at time because he's not wrong or right.
But I do believe Gould was a true musician, and I find that as a solid fact.
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