8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 3 - November 2006

  • Text
  • Theatre
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • December
  • Glenn
  • Gould

1.0. tdusical Diar·yby

1.0. tdusical Diar·yby Colin EatockThe Ghost in the Machinetorontoa rtsCoun c il•. ., .•.••• ,.,, • .,.,, ,,,.. c,,,.,,. .. "'"M ETCALFFOUNDATION Sun ~}Ure Fin~n c LilSeptember 17, 2006: The atmosphere at the Four Seasons Centre isfestive, in celebration of the conclusion of Canada' s first Ringcycle. There are a lot of music critics present (there is, in fact, awhole convention of music critics taking place in Toronto), and theirchatter ranges over a wide range of musical subjects.I overhear two of them talking about an upcoming performanceby Glenn Gould. This sounds strange, to say the least - Gould has beendead for almost 25 years - and so I politely intrude to ask whatthey're talking about. It turns out that they are discussing a computerizedreproduction of Gould's 1955 recording of the GoldbergVariations that will take place at the CBC later in the month.September 21, 2006: I do some searching on the internet, and find theman who's behind this unusual event - a North Carolina-based computerwhiz named John Q. Walker. And when I reach Walker by phone atZenph Studios (the business he owns), he patiently explains to me whathe's done, and what he's going to do in Toronto.He's created a computer programme that can analyze a recordingof a piano, calculating the exact force and speed of each keystroke. Thisdata can then be fed into a high-tech, computerized player-piano called aDisklavier Pro, which will then play back the music, as the pianist originallyplayed it. His "re-performance" (as he calls it) on September 25 atthe Glenn Gould Studio, will be the first time Walker's rendering ofGould's 1955 Goldbergs will be "played" in public. And not only willit be heard coast-to-coast on the CBC, it will be recorded by Sony BMGMasterworks, for release on a digitally recorded CD.September 25, 2006: The CBC's recital hall fills up with a verycurious audience, many of whom seem to be members of Toronto' sGlenn Gould Society. CBC announcer Andrew Craig invites theaudience members to close their eyes and imagine they' re about tohear Gould, back in 1955, recording the Goldberg Variations. Aftera couple of minutes of this, I peek - and what I see, not surprisingly,is a piano playing itself: keys moving, pedals going up and down.After the "re-performance," the lobby buzzes with excitement.To some, the experience was an almost supernatural communingwith the spirit of Gould. Others - including one elderly gentlemanwho knew Gould well - were unconvinced by what they heard.As for me, I can't deny I was impressed. But in my opinion, what'sreally at issue is not whether Walker has created something thatsounds exactly like Gould, or merely almost exactly like Gould. Thebig question is, what happens now?I speak to one pianist (who shall remain nameless) whopoints out that it would be possible, with this technology, to slip acomputer disk into a piano just before a recital and "finger-synch" tohis own, or even someone else's, performance. Another clever personsuggests that a pianist could simultaneously give multiple recitals:the performance data would be transmitted, via the internet, toDisklavier pianos in halls around the world.Personally, I don't think the world's concert halls are aboutto become populated by pianists who "aren't really there" any timesoon. The most practical application, at present, of Walker's inventionis probably the re-issuing of old recordings. It will be interestingto see how well the new CD of the Goldbergs sells, when it'sreleased next year.And with all due respect to Walker, I rather hope that SonyBM G' s release of the Gould "re-performance" doesn't set any salesrecords. The classical music world can be downright necrophilic attimes , investing too much time, energy and money in the worship ofthe past. I'd rather hear a truly new recording by a living pianistwith something new to say about the Goldbergs. Let's rememberGould - but let's also move on!16~ eanadaTrust /Vf111ic ~ Scotiabank THE G LOil~ AN DMAJL ~~~~.~.~.'~.~¥if.~ Colin Eatock is a Toronto-based composer and writer, who frequentlycontributes to the Globe and Mail! and other publications.WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM N OVEMBE R 1 - D ECEMBER 7 2006

IMonda~ber Zl, 2006 • Glenn Gould StudioS!~!!!2m~rn~rn~~~~tl~lii~~fj] .. Jnttct!l mm mLojze Lebic {Slovenia, 1934) - Dogodki II (Events 1) (2002)**Gyorgy Ligeti (Hungary, 1923-2006) - 10 Pieces for Woodwind Quintet (1968)Robert Aitken (Canada, 1939)- Fofia (1981)*Vinke Globokar {Slovenia, 1934)-Avgustin, dober je vin (2002)**Jiirg Wyttenbach (Switzerland , 1935) - Serenade var Lufth6ssen (2005)**197 John St.• Introduction 7:15 •Concert 8:00 •Box Office 416 204-1080* Canadian work I ** Canadian premiereThursdal 2 November, 2006 7-9 pm • Galle~ 345 • 345 Sorauren Ave.ii' "'df.,1Jr:tl:Hf11.it4€f·Jl·l'4'dl-The outstanding Slovenian woodwind quintet performs works by Scarlatti,Mozart, Nielsen and Ligeti In a festive meet and greet event at Gallery 345345 Sorauren Ave. (South of Dundas West between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles)Tickets advance (call NMC at 416 961-9594) I at the door· Admission includeshors d'oeuvres and open bar· Sponsored by Saint Andre Brewing CompanyProceeds to benefit New Music ConcertsA charitable receipt will be issued for the maximum allowable underCanada Revenue Agency Guidelines {Charitable Reg. 11905 6448 RR0001)~ ~,":hdeai~~ncil ~~n~=~'a~~s Arts :~;m~ ~" ~ '?'~d ~ ! ~ ?r.?v ~'~' ~"j';ONTA••I Canadian• HeritagePatrimoinecanadienMusicGaLlery: ' •.1,RIO A RTS COUNCILrnN

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