For Leonard Bernstein fans - Gould transcript

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by Alex Yates, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    A Transcription of Leonard Bernstein's Introduction to the
    Brahms D Minor Concerto Op. 15; recorded April 9, 1962 in New York City.
    Leonard Bernstein conducts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
    Soloist, Glenn Gould.

    Leonard Bernstein:

    (Clapping) Don't be frightened Mr.Gould is here. (audience laughter) He will appear in a moment. I'm not- um- as you know in the habit of speaking on any concert except the Thursday night previews, but a curious situation has arisen, which merits, I think, a word or two. You are about to hear a rather, shall we say, unorthodox performance of the Brahms D Minor Concerto, a performance distinctly different from any I've ever heard, or even dreamt of for that matter, in its remarkably broad tempi and its frequent departures from Brahms' dynamic indications. I cannot say I am in total agreement with Mr. Gould's conception and this raises the interesting question: "What am I doing conducting it?" (mild laughter from the audience) I'm conducting it because Mr. Gould is so valid and serious an artist that I must take seriously anything he conceives in good faith and his conception is interesting enough so that I feel you should hear it, too.

    But the age old question still remains: "In a concerto, who is the boss (audience laughter) the soloist or the conductor?" (Audience laughter grows louder) The answer is, of course, sometimes the one and sometimes the other depending on the people involved. But almost always, the two manage to get together by persuasion or charm or even threats (audience laughs) to achieve a unified performance. I have only once before in my life, had to submit to a soloist's wholly new and incompatible concept and that was the last time I accompanied Mr. Gould. (audience laughs loudly) But, but THIS time, the descrepencies between our views are so great that I feel I must make this small disclaimer. Then why, to repeat the question, am I conducting it? Why I do I not make a minor scandal -- get a substitute soloist, or let an assistant conduct? Because I am FASCINATED, glad to have the chance for a new look at this much played work; Because, what's more, there are moments in Mr. Gould's performance that emerge with astonishing freshness and conviction. Thirdly, because we can ALL learn something from this extraordinary artist who is a THINKING performer, and finally because there IS in music what Dimitri Mitropoulos used to call "the SPORTIVE element" (mild audience laughter) that FACTOR of curiousity, adventure, experiment, and I can assure you that it HAS been an adventure this week (audience laughter) collaborating with Mr. Gould on this Brahms concerto and it's in this spirit of adventure that we now present it to you.
    (Loud clapping)

    I never get tired of this story. It gets a chuckle out of me every time. Enjoy folks!
  2. uatrmpt

    uatrmpt Piano User

    Nov 29, 2003
    Don't tell that to the thousands of studio teachers and ensemble conductors -- of all levels -- who require us to perform a certain way just because "that's the way it's always been done."
  3. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    Classical music needs the sportive element. We need to attract a new generation of trumpet jocks. That's how my friends and I got in to it, like it or not.

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