The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
NYT: RBG Liked Blacks So Long as They Preferred Glenn Gould's Version of Bach's Goldberg Variations Rather Than Inferior Renditions
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

My Unlikely Friendship With Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I was a young, African-American Southerner, working in a Republican administration. But I loved Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and that was enough for her.

By Eric L. Motley
Mr. Motley is the executive vice president of the Aspen Institute.

Sept. 21, 2020

Our improbable friendship began in 2002 at a Georgetown dinner party, and it began with music. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Jewish urbanite who had just turned 70 and had been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a Democratic president. I was a 30-year-old African-American from the rural South who had recently arrived in Washington to serve as a special assistant to George W. Bush.

Aware of my status as the new kid on the block, I soon was put at ease at the dinner by the friendly man seated next to me, Marty Ginsburg. I’ll always remember our conversation.

So what do you do when you’re not working at the White House? he asked. I replied that listening to music and reading were my chief interests.

He turned and said, my wife and I love music; what are you listening to now?

When he learned that I was researching different renditions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, he asked for my favorite. Without hesitation, I replied, “Glenn Gould, 1955.” Addressing his wife on the other side of the table, he said, “Ruth, you have to meet Eric.”

We continued to discuss music and many other interests for the next 17 years. She sent me CDs and articles and sometimes over dinner would explain complicated legal cases. …

She also shared her own recollections that helped me understand the roots of her lifelong passion for equal opportunity for every person. Once we talked about people who had made lasting impressions on us when we were young. She recalled being mesmerized by the conductor of a children’s concert she attended in Brooklyn in 1944, when she was 11 years old. She was both sad and incredulous to learn I had not heard of the African-American conductor, Dean Dixon, and his inability to land a conductor’s job at a major symphony orchestra simply because of his race.

“Sit down,” she said, as I recall. “We cannot end the evening until you know his story. Can you imagine someone with so much skill and genius, conducting all over the world, and yet unable to find a job in his own country just because of the color of his skin?” …

That’s a pretty funny story that says a lot about how high IQ Jewish liberals like RBG tend to project about blacks: as symphony conductors denied the opportunity to make it on their in-born talent and chutzpah by the WASP establishment. They probably even had to found their own country clubs, or something.

People often asked both of us how we became friends. Last December, at dinner one evening she succinctly replied: “A common love for ideas, for music. It was really the Goldberg Variations that brought us together.”

When I listen to Bach’s marvelous, deeply stirring music, I am reminded that in all of these variations — all this flux of life, especially in the inner ups and downs — there is an exquisite order I can actually experience, which is so beautiful that it must be real. In that one piece of music, so beautiful and complex, both she and I discovered that these Variations had become a fixture in our lives.

On the night of her death, like thousands of others, my fiancée, Hannah, and I visited the Supreme Court. We climbed those marbled steps of majesty, and at the great bronze doors we left a single white rose. As I held Hannah’s hand, I remembered the love of Marty and Ruth and imagined my new beginning with Hannah. Then we came home and put on the Goldberg Variations.

RBG’s 1 black clerk

Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be “racist” under Ibram X. Kendi’s influential definition because only 0.7% of law clerks she hired were black.

But that’s totally wrong because, as Eric Motley documents at length, blacks who held carefully considered opinions on Bach’s Goldberg Variations were OK with RBG!

No Disparate Impact Discrimination for RBG. After all, only a racist would think that blacks aren’t into Bach and opera as much as, say, Jews are.

On the other hand, when RBG asked Frank Ricci his favorite music, he probably shouldn’t have replied, “Aerosmith.”

iSteve commenter Mr. Blank replies:

I went to college with Eric Motley. To say he is the whitest-acting black man I have ever met is an understatement. He makes Neal deGrasse Tyson look like Flavor Flav.

He’s also crazy smart. I don’t mean when grading on a curve, like with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eric’s a legitimate big-brained intellectual. He was way, way, waaay smarter than I was. It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s the smartest black guy I’ve ever met in person.

If RBG was under the impression that Eric is representative of black Americans, that would explain a lot about her.

 
Hide 185 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Mr. Anon says:

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be “racist” under Ibram X. Kendi’s influential definition because only 0.7% of law clerks she hired were black.

    But that’s totally wrong because, as Eric Motley documents at length, blacks who held carefully considered opinions on Bach’s Goldberg Variations were OK with RBG!

    The Ginsburg Variations

    The Aspen Institute – isn’t that another one of those globalist think-tanks, masquerading as some kind of high-minded temple of wisdom.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspen_Institute

    In April 2020, the company received approximately $8 million in federally backed small business loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. The company received scrutiny over this loan, which meant to protect small and private businesses. The Washington Post noted their large endowment and membership of billionaires made this problematic. Dele Olojede, a fellow at the institute, called it “contrary to the stated purpose of this institute”, that “one of America’s most elite institutions thinks it is okay to take the money”, going on to say “Those who purport to be values-based and public-spirited leaders cannot at the same time put self interest first, when there is so much human suffering and death”.[14] The day after Olojede and the Washington Post highlighted the funding, Aspen Institute announced they would return it, stating “Upon listening to our communities and further reflection, we have made the decision to return the loan”.[15]

    Translation: We got caught.

  2. ic1000 says:

    Dr. Motley is cultivated and genteel, talents that must be helpful in assisting his elitist peers to appreciate the wonders of wokeness.

    Society of Fellows Discussion Reception: Reframing History: Understanding Slavery and Its Legacy
    Dec. 19, 2019
    Speakers:
    Nikole Hannah-Jones is an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and creator of the landmark 1619 Project…
    Terrence L. Johnson is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics in the Department of Government at Georgetown University…
    Moderator:
    Eric L. Motley, Ph.D., is an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for Institutional Advancement and governance…

    Life is very, very good at the top, and the Goldberg Variations are going to sound even sweeter, when played during the Harris-Biden Administration.

  3. JimDandy says:

    Damn good post, Steve. Really lovin’ the juxtaposition of


    “Sit down,” she said, as I recall. “We cannot end the evening until you know his story. Can you imagine someone with so much skill and genius, conducting all over the world, and yet unable to find a job in his own country just because of the color of his skin?”

    with


    Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be “racist” under Ibram X. Kendi’s influential definition because only 0.7% of law clerks she hired were black.

  4. Bach always leaves me cold. Technically brilliant, but I feel nothing but boredom listening to him.

    Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Haydn—I feel something when I listen to them, they move me. Bach always sounds like some wunderkind kid showing off his scales and amazing fingerwork but without any soul behind the music he;s making.

    Maybe it’s all the harpsichords.

  5. “After all, only a racist would think that blacks aren’t into Bach and opera as much as, say, Jews are.”

    That’s a generational thing, don’t you think Steve? After all, Jews under the age of about 50 aren’t into Bach and opera as much as Rap, Hip/Hop, R&B.

    “On the other hand, when RBG asked Frank Ricci his favorite music, he probably shouldn’t have replied, “Aerosmith.”

    What makes you think that RBG ever heard of Aerosmith? To someone like RBG, Elvis and the Beatles were about as hard rock as she ever got. “No, I’m not familiar with Mr. Smith. Which version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations did he conduct, and when? Do you have the CD I could borrow to compare with other Variations?” Would’ve been RBG’s reply.

    • LOL: bomag
    • Replies: @Kronos
    , @Abe
  6. Anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    Sounds like she liked blacks as long as they were cornball brothers on the down low.

  7. Steve Urkel and Hallmark Maxine bond over elitist white Protestant music? I guess the plan to cancel Bach must be put on indefinite hiatus.

    • Replies: @Kronos
  8. “Without hesitation I replied, Glenn Gould”

    Wow, what an original and surprising opinion. When asked my favorite Miles Davis records, without hesitation I reply “Birth of the Cool,” “Nefertiti,” and “Kind of Blue.”

    Guess that makes me a Distinguished Professor of Jazz.

    I also like “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles. I must be some sort of discerning musical genius!

  9. SND says:

    Yeah, but rather than being able to contrast Glen Gould’s 1955 & 1981 versions of the Goldbergs, RBG has left us a world where the contrast is between Jeffery & Jonah.

    • LOL: Carol
  10. tyrone says:

    If you had ask RBG she would say “why certainly ,most young negroes love Bach’s Goldberg variations”………now don’t you feel a bit churlish for mentioning the clerks.

    • LOL: HammerJack
  11. Glenn Gould, 1955. What a banal choice. I suppose his favorite “jazz” LP (and I mean LP, CD’s and those download things are for kids; I bet Ruth preferred “original 78s”) is Kind of Blue.

    Favorite “rock” LP? Oh, Sargent Pepper, of course. Brilliant!

    Duck: If I say Nixon, you’ll think I’m buttering you. If I say Kennedy, you’ll want to reform me. So, uh… I’ll say Nixon.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/MadMenS1E12NixonVsKennedy

    • Agree: Inquiring Mind
    • Troll: Lace
    • Replies: @AndrewR
  12. This Goldberg chap seems like another talented person of the Jewish persuasion that history has buried. I want to find out more about him, for sure.

  13. I wonder if the late Justice and her husband were particularly fond of Bach’s Goldberg Variations due to a (mistaken) belief that the Goldberg in question was Jewish? After all, who has ever heard of a non-Jewish Goldberg?

    In Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, a crowd of black New Yorkers express their disdain for a Jewish politician who is addressing them by shouting “Goldberg! Goldberg!” (The politician was not called Goldberg.) The narrator informs us that “Goldberg” is used by the crowd as a pejorative term for anyone Jewish – a synonym for “Hymie”, if you will.

    The Goldberg of the variations was, according to Wikipedia, one Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who was baptised in 1727 in Danzig.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    , @Obee
  14. dvorak says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Bach always leaves me cold.

    What if it’s played romantically?

  15. Glenn Gould’s Version

    Speaking of Canadian madmen, this one has some nerve calling anyone else an “ugly tyrant clown”:

    https://heavy.com/news/2020/09/pascale-ferrier/

    They let her work on jet engines? I’m takin’ the train!

    [MORE]

    • LOL: HammerJack
    • Replies: @Ripple Earthdevil
  16. The New York Times apparently felt that in the Summer of Floyd RGB needed some BLM street cred on her resume. So they said: “Get me a story about RBG having a black friend!” Mission accomplished

  17. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    Are we sure this Motley guy is black? He looks like a white guy wearing blackface. Notice hire the color is smeared around his upper cheeks and his thin, Caucasian lips?

    And it’s one thing for a black guy to listen to Bach on the piano. But can he stand it on the harpsichord? That’s the acid test. Throw in a banjo and a pedal steel guitar for the ultimate test.

  18. Mr. Blank says:

    I went to college with Eric Motley. To say he is the whitest-acting black man I have ever met is an understatement. He makes Neal deGrasse Tyson look like Flavor Flav.

    He’s also crazy smart. I don’t mean when grading on a curve, like with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eric’s a legitimate big-brained intellectual. He was way, way, waaay smarter than I was. It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s the smartest black guy I’ve ever met in person.

    If RBG was under the impression that Eric is representative of black Americans, that would explain a lot about her.

  19. Kronos says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    They can be rehabilitated by retroactively becoming black men.

  20. Kronos says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “On the other hand, when RBG asked Frank Ricci his favorite music, he probably shouldn’t have replied, “Aerosmith.”

    It could’ve been worse, he could’ve said Antonio Salieri. Dude’s like the Aaron Burr of music and in the film “Amadeus” killed Mozart in a very passive aggressive manner.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  21. @dvorak

    Check out the virtuoso violinist Lara St. John’s wacky rethinking of ole JS on her delightful record “re: Bach”.

    Sexiest Bach you will ever hear, ah guar-ohn-TEE!

    How anybody can listen to the Brandenburg Concertos and think Bach is cold, well that’s a mystery to me. The man fathered something like THIRTEEN CHILDREN!!

    Pro tip: sit down some time and play the famous “Prelude in C,” and instead of playing it really slowly like Glenn Gould would do, play it as fast as you can, I mean realllly freakin’ fast, like Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman would do. The results might surprise you.

    I like both Gary Numan and Dee Dee Ramone, but if I had to choose, I’d take Dee Dee. But I’d still secretly like Gary Numan.

  22. Bernard says:

    I must say, both Ginsburg’s seemed like very nice people. In the end that counts for something I suppose. May God have mercy on their souls, RIP.

    • Replies: @Anon
  23. Item 13 from John Derbyshire’s “The Talk”:

    You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with [intelligent, well-socialized blacks]. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

    • Thanks: ic1000
  24. Dumbo says:
    @R.G. Camara

    What?? Bach is the best, musically.
    Mozart second.
    Then the Italians, Tartini, Vivaldi, Verdi, etc.
    Beethoven is too loud.
    Wagner, impressive in some parts of his operas, but in general also loud and obnoxious.
    Not that I am an expert in music or anything, just personal taste.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Disagree: Lace, northeast
  25. Dumbo says:
    @Kronos

    Salieri wasn’t so bad. Of course the film, based on a play, was a complete invention. Salieri and Mozart were friends, not rivals.
    The thing about music, and in particular classical music, is that only the top ones become very famous, but there’s a lot of second-tier talent that is not bad at all.

  26. Mr. Blank says:

    You know, it’s funny, Steve — when you did that post the other day about Paul Watford, RBG’s only black law clerk, I remember thinking, “this guy sounds just like Eric Motley, that genius black guy I knew back in college.” And lo and behold…

  27. Clyde says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    “Johann Sebastian Bach had twenty children with his two wives. Four of seven children survived from his first marriage with Maria Barbara. Three died, that is two died at their birth already, one in the age of one year old.”

    Brian Jones- 5
    Jagger –8
    Ronnie Wood– 6
    Bill Wyman – 5
    Keith – 5
    .
    .
    .
    .https://www.bachonbach.com/100-bach-faq-and-soon-there-are-500-bach-faq/faq-23-did-bach-have-children-how-many-children/

  28. Kronos says:
    @Dumbo

    Well yeah, but for every music major who know’s the truth, there are twenty theater majors who don’t.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  29. Whiskey says: • Website

    The worship of black people as the racial redeemers for White original sin can have only one endpoint. Getting rid of all Whites. All. Even nice Jewish ladies in DC.

    Seems like Ginsburg wasn’t so smart after all.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  30. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Bach is THE MASTER. If his music lacks the feelz for you, try this:

    There are better recordings of this on youtube, but they do not work with this website:

  31. Charlotte says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Bach had twenty kids in total with his two wives. I believe a number of them died young, however.

  32. Wait! What?!? How can he be black with if he was in the Shrub’s administration?

  33. Well, if you’re going to use Bach as a filter to choose your black friends (much less the Goldberg Variations or a particular recording thereof)…

    I’d be willing to follow that protocol.

    • LOL: Hibernian, HammerJack
  34. @Dumbo

    Salieri wasn’t so bad. Of course the film, based on a play, was a complete invention. Salieri and Mozart were friends, not rivals.

    Hey, it was in a MOVIE, numbnuts, so of course it’s true!

  35. @Dumbo

    Haydn is #1.

    All others are #2,

    or lower.

  36. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:
    @R.G. Camara

    If you need a little more optimism:

    As for the Goldberg Variations, I like this interpretation better than Gould’s. But then I would, wouldn’t I, being a Russian bot:

  37. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    OT, but just potentially amusing to other Xers…

    I started listening to the Beatles at a very young age, but at that time they had already broken up, and in some ways were considered old news. I first heard “Paperback Writer” when I was six years old. My observations at the time…

    “His son is working for the Daily Mail” I figured this must be the British term for the post office.

    “It’s a dirty story of a dirty man” Weirdly, despite growing up in a very straight-arrow household, I somehow had a pretty good idea what this meant, cannot tell why.

    “I need a break, and I wanna be a paperback writer” I had no conception of the tawdry aspect, I thought it just meant being a published writer, sounded like a lofty ambition.

    “If you really like it you can have the rights” Mysteriously at age six I knew precisely what this meant. There is no good explanation for how I knew what was meant, but I did.

    “I can make it longer if you like the style, I can change it round…” Why would a writer do this? What’s the point of being a writer if you’ll just change it?

    Funnily, I also heard a lot of the Beach Boys at the time, but didn’t put the two together, had no idea that the Beatles were responding to Brian Wilson and trying to beat him at his own game.

    Anyway it’s just sort of amusing what sort of misperceptions you have as a kid.

    Anybody have peculiar kid takes on I Am the Walrus or Across the Universe?

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Ray P
  38. Anon[300] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bernard

    Yeah, they’re the sort of people I wouldn’t have minded socially as long as they didn’t talk about politics or have any power to run the country. P. J. O’Rourke once said his friends were great fun, but they never should have been allowed anywhere near politics, his friends being crazy Boomers.

    People never realize that things are best run by the sort of guy who’s a bit on the dumb side when it comes to theory, but who’s great at practical problem solving. Politics is the art of getting things done, not indulging in wishful thinking.

    • Replies: @Sollipsist
  39. Clyde says:
    @Whiskey

    The worship of black people as the racial redeemers for White original sin can have only one endpoint. Getting rid of all Whites. All. Even nice Jewish ladies in DC.
    Seems like Ginsburg wasn’t so smart after all.

    Ginzz was smart enough to pass away before this impacted her or her NW Washington DC neighborhood. As for her children and grandchildren who have prominence these days, they will be hurt by all this but are too brainwashed to notice and complain. They are programmed to pre-submit to the Black tidal wave.

  40. Kylie says:
    @R.G. Camara

    “Bach always leaves me cold. Technically brilliant, but I feel nothing but boredom listening to him.

    Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Haydn—I feel something when I listen to them, they move me. Bach always sounds like some wunderkind kid showing off his scales and amazing fingerwork but without any soul behind the music he;s making.”

    Maybe this will warm you up a bit. No razzle-dazzle, just two beautiful melodies (without harpsichord).

  41. Anonymous[215] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Better to have good taste than be “original.” No one has surpassed Gould that I know of.

    By the way, Milestones is my favorite Miles Davis album.

  42. @Kronos

    Arguably, theater/film majors have done more damage than sociologists.

    • Replies: @Kronos
  43. Anon55uu says:

    Trump would have more interest in former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg I expect.

  44. Goldberg, like Rosenbaum, wasn’t Jewish.

    90% chance Motley is gay. Willing to be corrected.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  45. Hibernian says:
    @Richard of Melbourne

    When I saw “Goldberg Variations,” I wondered if it was something like PDQ Bach, and perhaps the creation of Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David.

  46. AndrewR says:
    @R.G. Camara

    What an embarassing comment. My god. Leaving aside all his beautiful string pieces, many of his harpsichord pieces sound absolutely divine.

    Prelude in C is an especially famous example

    https://youtu.be/aengbLEFnM

    Bach is the greatest musician of all time and it’s not even up for debate.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Disagree: Lace
    • Replies: @Lace
  47. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    The New York Times has been monitoring Steve and others who have pointed out Ginsberg’s lack of black clerks, so to counter that we should expect to see dozens of articles about her friendly encounters with blacks in the opinion section of the Times.

    • Agree: HammerJack
  48. AndrewR says:
    @James O'Meara

    Kind of Blue really is the zenith of jazz. In contrast, rock’s balls hadn’t even dropped when Sergeant Pepper came out

    • LOL: Sollipsist
  49. @Jane Plain

    He says his fiance is named Hannah.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  50. Bloghert says:

    Your commentator went to college at Samford?

  51. Arclight says:

    RBG is typical of high-IQ white progressives – she assumes the extraordinary individual she knows personally is a close approximation of the entire population. I have a number of progressive friends and acquaintances who because of the field they work in essentially only interact with other very smart people and they have no experience of the reality of what it is like to work with or how life is lived by merely average people, to say nothing of people who are in the bottom third of society.

    This is one of the biggest problems we have in politics and culture – the elites who make up academia, the media, and politicians are largely completely ignorant of the people they claim they want to help. The result is that they assume the cultural failures most prominently on display with blacks (but also present to a lesser but still damaging extent in Latinos and whites) can only be explained by a malign institutional force holding back an otherwise capable group.

    My suspicion is that the great sorting of the last 50 years or so is exacerbating this disconnect from reality, whereas the elites of 100 years ago were much more familiar from personal experience with the bottom half of society and had more realistic expectations about what levers could improve the outcomes of the underclass and just how much mileage we could expect out of that.

    • Replies: @Nachum
    , @JMcG
  52. I prefer Jean Rondeau’s version on harpsichord.

  53. peterike says:
    @Mr. Blank

    He’s also crazy smart. I don’t mean when grading on a curve, like with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eric’s a legitimate big-brained intellectual. He was way, way, waaay smarter than I was.

    And yet, what does he do with his brainpower? He works for a Globalist skunk tank dedicated to ruining the world for normal people. But of course, they do it in a VERY high-minded and self-congratulatory way.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  54. @Mr. Blank

    If RBG was under the impression that Eric is representative of black Americans, that would explain a lot about her.

    I think this statement applies to all the intelligent yet idiot liberals who have convinced themselves that 13 don’t do 50 because systemic racism.

  55. @dvorak

    I have a several recordings of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, but it’s Milstein’s from the mid-fifties on Angel/EMI that I usually reach for… just outstanding.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
  56. Cynewulf says:

    I thought The Goldberg Variations referred to the law clerks Justice Ginsberg actually hired 🙂

  57. @R.G. Camara

    Try this one

    I am a great fan of Bach’s and I don’t enjoy listening to the keyboard pieces much, although I like playing them.

  58. Glenn Gould is an, um, interesting interpreter of Bach, but he is by no means definitive, and certainly not the gold standard, nor even the Goldberg standard. His weird particularity, his fetishisizing of individual notes, his Robert Wilson-level slow tempos which obscure Bach’s patterns and web-making, are all eccentric rather than normative. Imagine the Brandenburg concertos played by Gould, without any of the standard vivacity and vigor. You wouldn’t know what you were hearing, just a succession of notes.

    Glenn Gould for all his virtues and admitted genius is the Smart Boy’s pick, the favorite of the guy who hears Gould’s reputation name-checked a lot but doesn’t actually play. Preferring Gould is not a mark of earned good taste, it is a kind of intellectual Get Out of Jail Free card. Given RBG’s predilections, my guess is she gravitated to this dude after he name-checked Gould, because she smelled a grade-grubber.

    • Disagree: Lace
    • Replies: @Liza
    , @Lace
    , @anon
  59. Mr. Anon says:

    I’m waiting for the RBG biopic: Driving Miss Ruthie

  60. Liza says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Glenn Gould is an, um, interesting interpreter of Bach, but he is by no means definitive, and certainly not the gold standard, nor even the Goldberg standard.

    Yes indeed.

  61. anon[217] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    My mother enjoyed the local “old people” radio station (50s pre-rock music, this was the early 90s) and I remember being extremely disturbed by the numerous folk ballads that ended with the protagonist’s death– “Tom Dooley”, “El Paso”, “Big John” and so on gave me nightmares. I knew nothing about death outside of these songs and used to lay awake at age 4 or so worrying about my own future demise. I also recall being totally mortified when my father was pulled over by the cops for speeding and left “I’m Too Sexy” blasting on the radio while speaking to the officer. I thought he would go to jail for listening to such filthy music.

  62. Obee says:
    @Richard of Melbourne

    Working for Goldberg was the term blacks pushing racks of dresses in the Garment Center used to identify that work.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  63. Dean Dixon is an early example of something you write about often, Steve. His parents were immigrants from the Caribbean. He also married three times, twice to Jewish women, and his first foreign job was in Israel in 1949.

    To parrot Mr. Blank, if this is RBG’s reference point for American blacks, it explains a lot.

    • Replies: @For what it's worth
  64. @Dumbo

    Bach was the best, I think I’ve played a Bach piece on some instrument every day of my teen-adult life. Mendelssohn next.

    The Italians were okay, but only Baroque and opera. If you want truly beautiful Classical/Romantic music, you need Saint Seans. HE was a master.

    • Replies: @Lace
  65. This is all very confusing. After all, Bach was a GERMAN, and you know what that means. Plus, his son worked for Frederick the Great, an amateur flautist and notorious Greater Germany chappie, like that Adolf guy. And Bach dedicated his Musical Offering to King Frederick.

    So, these guys were all proto-Nazis! How could Ginzberg and Motley allow themselves within a country mile of a guy that played music with a guy that inspired the baddest baddie of all time?

  66. “Unlikely friendship”? Not nearly as unlikely as a SCOTUS justice befriending a random young white man based on his taste in music.

    • LOL: Hibernian
  67. Old Prude says:
    @R.G. Camara

    “Maybe it’s the harpsichords”. Nailed it. I fell asleep at the only harpsichord concert I attended. The harpsichord is to the piano as the ghuzla is to the guitar

  68. Tim says:

    So, Eric’s fiancée’s name is Hannah??

    Wow, all the pieces fit.

  69. I can picture it in my mind. RBG’s condescension as she says you MUST hear the story of how one of your people was denied an opportunity to conduct in his own country! I suspect she touched his arm the way older women do to reassure.

    White liberals in general are incredibly condescending to blacks and minorities in general. I have a lot of anecdotes about academic colleagues who spoke to non academic POC as if they were preschoolers. Or who embarrassingly assumed two blacks in the room were related and knew each other, when an observant person could intuit from body language that was not the case.

    I realize in the fringes of some websites, probably here too, there are right wing racists, but I think the lefty racists are far more prevalent.

    • Replies: @Abe
  70. Papinian says:
    @R.G. Camara

    One shouldn’t argue about taste. But here’s a quote from Schweitzer’s biography that finds the same difference between Bach’s music and others’ that you describe, but with a different estimation of that difference:

    Aesthetic elucidation of any kind must necessarily be superfluous here. What fascinates us in the work is not the form or the build of [one of Bach’s pieces], but the world-view that is mirrored in it. It is not so much that we enjoy the Well-tempered Clavier as that we are edified by it. Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter—to all these it gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.

    Nowhere so well as in the Well-tempered Clavier are we made to realize that art was Bach’s religion. He does not depict natural soul-states, like Beethoven in his sonatas, no striving and struggling towards a goal, but the reality of life felt by a spirit always conscious of being superior to life, a spirit in which the most contradictory emotions, wildest grief and exuberant cheerfulness, are simply phases of a fundamental superiority of soul. It is this that gives the same transfigured air to the sorrow-laden E flat minor prelude of the First Part and the care-free, volatile prelude in G major in the Second Part. Whoever has once felt this wonderful tranquility has comprehended the mysterious spirit that has here expressed all it knew and felt of life in the secret language of tone, and will render Bach the thanks we render only to the great souls to whom it is given to reconcile men with life and bring them peace.

    • Thanks: Gabe Ruth
  71. CCZ says:

    “Brooklyn Municipal Building to be renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

    New York Post:

    And …On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is considering Brooklyn Bridge Park as a location to erect a STATUE depicting Ginsburg.

    The Brooklyn Municipal Building will be renamed after late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

    “We want to make sure we honor her in every conceivable way especially in the borough she came from,” de Blasio told reporters of the Brooklyn-born Ginsburg during a City Hall press briefing.

    De Blasio said the renaming Downtown Brooklyn building after Ginsburg is “an extraordinary opportunity to say to the people of Brooklyn – here’s one of our own who changed the world.”

    “That building will carry her name forever more,” the mayor said.

    Until BLM realizes that she hired only 1 black law clerk in 40 years!!!!

  72. Jack D says:
    @Obee

    I thought it was “driving a Cadillac”…

  73. slumber_j says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Yeah, you were gonna get a lot of blowback on that but I get it. Add in Glenn Gould’s moaning and I’d mostly rather be listening to something else.

  74. Paleoconn says:

    Clearly, Eric Motley was not in RBG’s mind a typical black because her hiring practices did not change an iota since their meeting in 2002.

    Good for Steve to inquire who, pray tell were these shadowy symphony dudes who boxed out the great black talent Dixon back in the 1930s?

    Let’s call that the Ginsburg variations on anti-black discrimination, deceptively pinning it all on WASP Whitey.

    By the way, I also love Gould’s recording. You can hear him humming and making other vocal sounds while tickling the ivories (oops, and the ebonies).

  75. Lace says:
    @AndrewR

    I think if I had to choose one Western composer, it would be Bach, but it’s definitely up for debate. Mozart and Beethoven and Wagner are all possibilities for ‘greatest’ according to what you’re listening for. I still think Bach is the ‘mightiest’, but that’s just me–and that’s just you saying ‘it’s not even up for debate’.

  76. Lace says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Bach is not mostly ‘harpsichords’ now. Both Gould and Tureck were pianists, including their Bach. Wanda Landowska’s harpsichord playing is legendary, but she doesn’t interest me as much. Gould is easily the best as far as I’m concerned. He did do one recording on harpsichord, but none of the English and French suites, Partitas, Toccatas, Goldberg Variations either (!), the 48 (WTC) and did the Art of the Fugue on the organ. He’s the best pianist I’ve ever heard.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  77. Lace says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    A lot of people prefer Tureck’s. She was a great pianist and had one of the finest piano techniques of the 20th century. I think Gould had more, but he was a great admirer of Tureck very early on.

  78. Ray P says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Very funny to me, as a British Gen Xer, who grew up with the Beatles as nursery music listening to the albums and singles my parents owned on their nineteen sixties stack turntable. I especially liked the bit about the Daily Mail which I later delivered on my paper round. I can’t say I realised that Norwegian Wood was about a lesbian since I had no concept of one. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about a strange girl named Lucy who lived in the sky.

  79. Alice says:
    @Mr. Blank

    Except they met in 2002, so none of her worldview was unformed then. She did not mistakenly think all blacks were like him. She just didn’t let the reality of the consequences of her disparate impact ruling interfere with her ideology. They wouldn’t be felt much by her anyway.

  80. Liza says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Well, here’s something sprightly for you which I hope will change your mind. It doesn’t even always sound the way we think Bach supposedly should.

    Sung by two voices that are beyond belief, Dagmar Hermann and Teresa Stitch Randall, here’s the exuberant duet Wir Eilen from Cantata BWV #78. I don’t think it’s easy to find this recording any more.

  81. Anon7 says:

    Eric Motley appears to be unmarried, and yes, different from the other kids:

    After church services, Eric would straighten chairs. He’d walk the elderly to their cars. The other kids sometimes snickered. Friends his age played hide-and-seek, ran races up and down roads. Motley thought such games a waste of his time.

    When Eric got to junior high — bespectacled, quick to pull out a can of Lysol to chase away germs on his hands — some of the children thought him odd. He stayed after class and tidied up for his teachers, wiping off chalkboards, clearing windowsills.

    “He was strange,” concedes Susan Mayes, one of Eric’s seventh-grade teachers, who came to adore him. “He was like a little old man.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2006/06/11/a-path-all-his-own-span-classbankheadfor-eric-motley-the-measure-of-a-man-isnt-his-politicsspan/9d884c33-6447-4302-9dc9-21357a54d91f/

    Whitest black guy? Maybe.

    Yes, I’ll bet RBG got along with him, all the old ladies did in his small town, and if Ginsburg thought that this is what black men were like with affirmative action, that would explain a lot.

  82. Everything about this article reeks of the Sulzbergers’ Jewishness. If Motley spoke of a dead Gentile in the way he speaks of Darth Vader Ginsburg (what an old friend always called her), he would be declared an Uncle Tom by blacks, Jews, and sycophantic whites. Likewise, the Gentile substitute would be damned for her patronizing attitude toward a powerful and thus, ipso facto, a supremely well informed black man. The question heard throughout Woke America would be “How dare she test him on his favorite performance of the Goldbergs? Colonialist bitch!”

    What my mind’s ear kept hearing as I read this shamelessly fawning account was Jane Austen’s character Mr. Collins (from Pride and Prejudice) descanting on the glorious condescension of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. As Lady Catherine was a shiksa, the Woke Powers That Be would say that the novelist appropriately treats her and her flatterers as figures of malicious fun. For the Times and its readers, however, there is no such thing as surfeit when it comes to flattering a Jew.

  83. Lace says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I’ve played Bach all my life, including all 48 of the WTC, Partitas, Toccatas, more. Glenn Gould is definitely the best I’ve ever heard–but I can see from the thread that people have strong negative opinions. Tureck was a great Bach player; Ivan Davis said he thought her piano technique was the best of which he was aware. I knew her and had a few lessons with her in 1974, she was marvelous. I never met Gould, but I think his technique is even better, he has more speed, every note stands out, but he definitely admired her Bach from a very early age.

    Just listened to the 1955 Gould/Goldberg Sunday. Astonishingly masterful. The NYCBallet used to do Jerome Robbins’s ballet to them, but I haven’t seen it on the schedule for decades, although the Liebeslieder Walzer of Brahms by Balanchine is still done (these were ballets made around the same time in the 70s.)

    Glenn Gould is definitely the Gold Standard in my book, and were it not for not doing the big 19th c. repertoire, I’d probably say he was the greatest. But the other therefore must have been Liszt, that was the period when a concert pianist was a Rock Star. And Liszt could swing it if anybody could–with the women, and then getting apartments at the Vatican.

  84. Lace says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Since you mention Gould’s slow Prelude in C (WTC I, I assume), his speed is superhuman in the G Major Prelude of WTC II. Reminded me of the lyrebird, once seen on one of Attenborough’s nature shows. For perfect speed and all the notes clear, he’s peerless, and you hear this in his Scarlatti too.

  85. Nachum says:
    @Arclight

    Yeah, it was an important revelation when a friend explained to me that (especially as we’re both Jewish,) we associate with people who have higher than average IQs, and thus forget that, simply by definition, half the population is below average.

  86. Lace says:
    @stillCARealist

    With Mendelssohn you have the first major Jewish classical composer before Mahler and the 20th c. with Schoenberg, Berg, etc.

    Saint-Saëns is not one of the A-List composers, including not even of French ones like Debussy, Ravel, Faure. Although as a teen I played the 2nd Concerto of Saint-Saëns, and the 2nd Movement is an unbelievable confection–literally perfect.

  87. slumber_j says:
    @Lace

    Wanda Landowska’s handle reminds me of Wakanda.

    In a relatedly inane vein, it dawned on me during a walk today that Joey Bishop and Joe Piscopo are pretty much the same name.

    • LOL: Lace
  88. JMcG says:
    @Arclight

    I’ve always felt the draft had a lot to do with it. Reading officers accounts of their interactions with enlisted men is enlightening. Even the accounts of really intelligent enlisted men like Sledge illustrate the gap that exists between people of vastly different abilities.
    The difference then was a sense of common purpose, at least. Now it’s just two-way contempt.

  89. Damn good post, Steve.

    Damn good? That’s it?

    It’s a fucking AMAZING post.

    If I had been drinking coffee as I read it, I would have spit the liquid out all over the monitor.

    Motley belongs to that sliver of blackdom that John Derbyshire called IWSBs – Intelligent Well Socialized Blacks – in his classic wrongthink article “The Talk.” Motley is in the highest of all stratas — he is the rarest of all rara avis — the “SUPER Intelligent Well Socialized Black.”

    Marty and Ruth, “upper class whites” in every respect, and all too concerned with status markers, gladly bought the “luxury good” that is Motley.

    https://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/NationalQuestion/talk.html

    …there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

    Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public — corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc. — with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.

    Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice

  90. Abe says:
    @John Milton’s Ghost

    I can picture it in my mind. RBG’s condescension as she says you MUST hear the story of how one of your people was denied an opportunity to conduct in his own country!

    This is a textbook case of microagression. A black body is at all times in a quantum superimposed state of pitiable suffering as well as triumphant RYE-eye-suhn! At no time shall a white observer take measurement of either the black body’s oppression (SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT!) or its OVER-COMMIN’ (EYEZ ON THE PRIZE!) states as such action tends to collapse the entire quantum system.

  91. Abe says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    What makes you think that RBG ever heard of Aerosmith?

    More likely she’d think you’re referring to the Sinclair Lewis novel ARROWSMITH .

    “On the other hand, when RBG asked Frank Ricci his favorite music, he probably shouldn’t have replied, “Aerosmith.”

    Aerosmith is working class/American with-a-vowel-at-the-end-of-his-name (and therefore more likely to adopt a chick-friendly style than the sort of rock bands composed of Druid Belt Americans happy to sing about Cthulhu to sausage party audiences) rock. In other words, a very meat-n-potatoes sort of guys rock band.

    Sorry, Steve just about confused me into thinking he was referring to the gay NEW YORK TIMES columnist (Frank Bruni). Aerosmith, huh? More like twink-stage John Tesh, especially if appearing shirtless on his CD cover.

  92. riches says:

    More Jews and blacks news:

    Imagine an Alabama single mom worried about her son’s move to college. Her concern is tempered knowing that he’ll still be in state, just out of reach.

    She can’t know that 700 miles away a pair of nanogenarian Jews together with a lunatic priest are conniving to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a reverse Underground Railroad: Sending young Chicago ghetto denizens on scholarships to state schools in the South. Schools like the one her son will die at.

    Chicago principals in the story include W. Englewood’s notorious Fr. Michael Pfleger and
    the sole benefactors, Streeterville-Gold Coast’s married couple, the Steins:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/chicago-golden-glove-boxer-and-valedictorian-arrested-in-connection-with-killing-of-alabama-state-student/ar-BB19eW17

  93. anon[110] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Glenn Gould is a blasphemer: J.S. Bach did not compose for piano.

  94. @CCZ

    Since Ruthie hired only one black, any statue erected to her memory will soon become a target for black activists.

    (Hell, they’ll be in competition to see who can beat the rest tearing it down.)

  95. @Anon

    Governance may be an art, but politics is just prostitution with different clients who each have their own particular kinks.

  96. Abe says:

    Personally I prefer THE NO QUARTER VARIATIONS by Led Zeppelin:

  97. @peterike

    The smartest people know a good scam when they see one, and get on board as early as possible. It’s a plus if the scam also flatters your worldview.

  98. @Anonymous

    Paul Barton is better than Gould. Also, he hangs out with elephants – they’re his friends.

  99. @Lace

    Mendelssohn was a Christian, and introduced the world to Bach, likely doing as much for the faith as Luther.

    As to Saint-Seans (I can’t spell his name, and kudos to you for apparently getting it right), it’s been a special passion of mine to get others to listen to him. His best work stands up there with Tchaikovsky and Chopin. (Don’t you just love the Bacchanal?) And I’m sorry, but Debussy and Ravel are mostly just boring. My pianist daughter says Debussy took too many sleeping pills.

    • Replies: @Lace
  100. Papinian says:
    @Lace

    I was beginning to think I was the only pianist to the right of Trotsky! I’m learning the first 48 of the WTC at the moment. C-sharp minor’s no joke!

    Personally, I prefer Schepkin’s Goldbergs. Have you heard a good clavichord recording? Or a clavichord recording of the WTC, for that matter? I think that would take the cake, if well done, especially since you can alter intonation with the finger stroke, and even do vibrato!

    The story goes, that after Liszt’s concerts, the seats would be wet.

  101. @CCZ

    Indeed. She will be honored in “every conceivable way” when her statue is pulled down by the next vanguard of Year Zero allegiance in the future. The revolution eats its own.

  102. @R.G. Camara

    “Bach always leaves me cold. Technically brilliant, but I feel nothing but boredom listening to him.”

    I felt the same – excepting his keyboard concertos and popular organ works – until I hit my thirties. Since then, I love even his most recondite and cerebral works for solo piano and organ – I ain’t got time for Bach played on harpsichord.

  103. @Lace

    “Glenn Gould is definitely the Gold Standard in my book, and were it not for not doing the big 19th c. repertoire, I’d probably say he was the greatest.”

    Gould was a cold, alien technical automaton. I’ve spent hours trying to appreciate his artistry [sic?] since others hold him in high esteem. Nothing – he’s as moving as a Selectric typewriter. Give me a romantic soul like Edwin Fischer, Charles Rosen, or even Angela Hewitt any day. And use the sostenuto pedal.

    • Agree: Jaroslav Hašek
    • Replies: @Lace
    , @Pierre de Craon
  104. I bet Watford and Motley both *love* Brussels sprouts.

  105. @Nachum

    Average is not the same as mean (which divides a set in half).

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  106. Lace says:

    Pretty educated commenters. With all this cornucopia of ethnicities–Jews RBG, Goldberg, black Motley–nobody said anything about thinking Glenn Gould was Jewish, which people did for a long time. What I find strange about ‘Gould’ is that they changed it from ‘Gold’ so they wouldn’t be thought Jewish, but you just have to know that Gould is from Irish, English, Scottish, etc., and I guess most people do, at least here. I thought he was Jewish for a long time.

    But people did still always ask him if he was Jewish, and he’d say some quip about ‘in the war’.

    Also interesting that RBG didn’t think Tureck’s nor Wanda Landowska’s Goldberg Variations were to be preferred because they were both Jewish. As much as Glenn Gould definitely can be seen to represent ‘good taste’, so can Tureck and Landowska.

    • Replies: @Lace
  107. @Nachum

    I withdraw previous comment – thinking of something else in stats.

  108. When I heard about the demise of Justice Ginsburg and saw news clips of people crying in public places I had pretty much the same reaction I had when John Lennon was killed. The same reaction to news reports following the deaths of Kurt Cobain and Jerry Garcia. It seems odd to me that so many people engage in public displays of mourning for someone they most likely did not know on a personal basis. When the Challenger exploded upon lift-off I remarked to the Missus, “I don’t understand all the fuss. People die everyday, what’s so special about these people?”

    I think these deceased take the place of prophets and saints in the secular worldview of the mourners. It’s analogous to certain kinds of frenzied religious practices.

  109. Lace says:
    @Lace

    No, I’m wrong on Goldberg, not Jewish. I never had bothered to look it up, he was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Gdańsk. Those German and/or Jewish names require a lot of attention. I had a close friends, surname Sternbergh, and she was totally German. A Swiss friend’s Prussian mother is Sternhardt, and her father was even in the German Army in WWII, but Sarah Bernhardt’s mother was Jewish, and her father’s family had her baptized Catholic. So I don’t know about Johann Gottlieb, although I never heard of Gottlieb being anything but a Jewish name. I asked someone smart one time, and she lectured me a long time on how these were determined, but I didn’t absorb it. All the ‘Friedmans’ I know in NYC are Jewish, but my next-door neighbour ‘Friedeman’ is German from the Midwest. Lots of Germans and Jews and Russians.

  110. Preferring Gould’s Goldberg (either version) is so midcult.

    • Replies: @Pierre de Craon
    , @Lace
  111. Kronos says:
    @Redneck farmer

    That’s true it some areas, but sociologists (especially anthropological sociologists) have a habit of writing their bad ideas down. The next generation reads them and improves the stupidity of those ideas.

    Theatre/film majors get too high to record their stuff. It’s handy when “blank slate” believers blank slate themselves (you can argue they don’t go far enough.)

  112. Cato says:

    When I listen to Bach’s marvelous, deeply stirring music, I am reminded that in all of these variations — all this flux of life, especially in the inner ups and downs — there is an exquisite order I can actually experience, which is so beautiful that it must be real.

    Yes! An insight that among the Christians I meet, has occasionally been expressed. I think appreciation of Bach requires so many things essential to our civilization that it could almot be a litmus test of who can and cannot lead: respect for tradition; ability to discipline oneself enough to listen to the same music for many years; ability to distinguish one thing from another and rank them in quality.

    Eric Motley, from rural southern Alabama, got his big step up at Samford and finished his education at St. Andrews. An extraordinary person.

  113. Jack D says:
    @PiltdownMan

    It’s really Jews who deserve credit when it comes to Texas barbecue.

    The first recorded mention of smoked brisket in Texas history was an ad in 1910 for “Watson’s Grocery” (actually a kosher deli) in El Paso, Texas (notice the 3 digit phone #):

    They were eating brisket in the shtetl long before the first longhorn reached the shores of Tejas.

    All kidding aside, black people were at one time in America noted for their cooking skill. It’s not an accident that Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, etc. were identified as being the very epitome of culinary prowess – if you bought Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix , maybe a little bit of black kitchen mojo would rub off on you and you could turn out those light fluffy pancakes that black cooks were noted for instead of those sodden rubbery things that were the best that you could come up with. So coming into modern America, blacks could have made cooking their thing – they could have been restaurateurs, produced packaged foods, etc.

    But, #1, black lacked entrepreneurial and managerial skills – if you have ever been in a black owned business, it usually sucks. And #2, cooking was beneath their dignity – from now on, blacks were gonna be brain surgeons and such. Other immigrant groups such as the Italians opened countless pizzerias and Italian restaurants and created dried pasta companies, produced bottled spaghetti sauce, frozen pizzas and lasagna, etc. (and became wealthy) but blacks completely missed the boat and only belatedly are trying to play catch up. Of course it is all whitey’s fault.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    , @MEH 0910
  114. frankie p says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Best Miles Davis albums: Kind of Blue 1959, Stella by Starlight (compilation of Jazz Track and Jazz at the Plaza) 1958. These were sextet albums which first featured Bill Evans, and his influence propelled the band to new heights. He was able to create an atmosphere that perfectly framed the “cool jazz” modal improvisations of the horns. Evans’ classically influenced “touch” playing was something new for these players. The influence of Bill Evans on Kind of Blue is so prevalent, it would be called a Miles Davis/Bill Evans album if it were made today. Evans wrote Blue in Green and I suspect he also wrote Flamenco Sketches. A cursory view of the chord progressions has his signature all over it. Having soloists like John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and Miles himself makes a sextet pretty powerful.

    There’s a thread of continuity with Glenn Gould, as well. Gould and Evans admired each other very much, and Gould called Evans “the Scriabin of Jazz,” to which the classical music critic Robert Offergeld said, “More to the point, Bill Evans was the Bill Evans of jazz. He could produce a broader tonal color in 32 measures than Glenn in his whole career.”

    In addition, the Grammy Award winning Evans album “Conversations With Myself” was made using Gould’s celebrated Steinway model CD 318 piano.

    I love Paperback Writer, and all the Beatles songs.

    The 10 to 12 year old me who listened to Paperback Writer wondered how you could write a paperback novel based on a novel by someone else. It didn’t sound very creative and original.

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  115. Yngvar says:

    De gustibus non disputandum est.

    And that is all I’m going to say about ‘classical music’.

  116. @Jack D

    The first recorded mention of smoked brisket in Texas history was an ad in 1910 for “Watson’s Grocery” (actually a kosher deli) in El Paso, Texas

    What kind of kosher deli sells blood sausage and smoked pork sausage exactly?

    • Replies: @Jack D
  117. @frankie p

    Bill Evans really was wonderful.

    My dad knew jazz, and we knew the McPartlands (Jimmy and Marian) very well. Ah, to go back in time…

    • Replies: @Frankie P
  118. Lace says:
    @stillCARealist

    Mendelssohn was JEWISH. This is simply fact. I see this must mean a lot to you personally, so I am sorry to have to make this clear. It’s documented all over the place.

    Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven all totally revered Bach and all pre-date Mendelssohn. So if these composers worshipped Bach, he was known to the world prior to Mendelssohn’s birth. Mozart wanted to be able to write fugues like Bach, although not being able to doesn’t lessen Mozart’s contribution, of course, and polyphonic music was considered ‘old-fashioned’ as the 18th c. progressed (although there are major fugues by Beethoven).

    Mendelssohn paid homage to Bach with an edition of Bach’s organ works, so he made major contributions to Bach’s legacy, but Bach was definitely known to the world. When Mendelssohn was born, Mozart had been dead for almost 20 years. Mendelssohn’s performance of the St. Matthew Passion was a major event, so his love and devotion of Bach was crucial, but the great 18th c. composers definitely knew Bach. Mendelssohn is a 19th c. composer.

    As for the opinions about the French composers, of course yours, mine and your daughter’s are all equally valid: They are opinions and tastes, not objective truth. Saint-Saens was much more of a creature of the 19th c. Debussy and Ravel both move into the modern era. They are my 2 favourite composers and Saint-Saëns is yours, so let’s not argue. I have played all the Debussy Etudes many times, and seen the great and incredibly glamorous Balanchine and Ashton ballets to Ravel’s sensual scores. Saint-Saëns, of course, has many popular works of great variety, including The Dying Swan, choreographed by Michel Fokine and premiered by Anna Pavlova (lots of legends in this one), and also the Carnival of the Animals, which I’ve seen once. You can see Maya Plisetskaya and other great ballerinas do ‘The Dying Swan’ on youtube if you haven’t. This is a very short ballet from the early 20th c., and a very important one,

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  119. Hibernian says:
    @Ancient Briton

    mean (which divides a set in half).

    No, that’s the median.

    What most people call the “average” is the arithmetic mean.

  120. Lace says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    This was quite unnecessary. Like who you like and don’t like who you don’t like. Why should I care? It was clear that I value Gould enormously, and you don’t have to be so fucking heavy-handed when you are merely expressing an affinity as mine is itself. What you said you wrote as if they were objective truth, and they are personal tastes.

    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  121. Frankie P says:
    @Kibernetika

    This is an excellent interview that Marian Mcpartland did with Bill Evans some time during 1979, a year or so before his death. It opens with one of the most beautiful solo renditions of Bill’s Waltz for Debby. They play together on many tunes, both compositions by Evans and other standards. It’s illuminating that although Marian was a famous jazz pianist in her own right, when Bill Evans starts talking about jazz improvisation and how he continues to develop, she can’t understand what he’s talking about and has to ask for a demonstration. He says that he had worked hard on “displacement of phrases” and “how phrases line up against the meter”. He then uses his tune “All of You” to demonstrate, with her playing along. It’s really amazing, and speaks volumes about how advanced his playing was.

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  122. Lace says:
    @Papinian

    No, I know almost nothing of clavichord, but what you say is interesting and I will try to listen to some.

    The story goes, that after Liszt’s concerts, the seats would be wet.

    As Paris Hilton would say *THAT’S HOT!*

    He probably had the effect on both sexes that Tom Jones once did. Jones talked about it once in The New Yorker when he was in NYC doing a show called “The Lead and How to Swing It” at a downtown club–that he considered that aspect of his performance only successful when the boys started getting as seduced as the girls (who always went first.)

  123. Anonymous[372] • Disclaimer says:
    @Lace

    I’ve played Bach all my life, including all 48 of the WTC, Partitas, Toccatas, more. Glenn Gould is definitely the best I’ve ever heard–but I can see from the thread that people have strong negative opinions.

    Is Gould Jewish?

  124. @Anonymous

    The question shoud have been “Was Gould Jewish?” Past tense or present, the answer is no.

  125. @Lace

    I don’t have a negative opinion of Glenn Gould — I think he was brilliant but quirky. My observation is sociological, not musical (I grew up playing classical piano in bars, my audience was afternoon drunks and retired old men who knew nothing about classical — the bartenders were just letting me use the piano because I couldn’t practice at home, and the drunks didn’t mind. I’d wake them up by playing “Benny the Bouncer” with that great solo.)

    The point here is, Smart Black Guy tries to Look Smart in Front of Rich Jews by name-checking one of only about three piano soloists an average person could be expected to name. Gets Smart Black Guy points for just knowing who Glenn Gould was, and what the Goldberg Variations are. IOW it’s a racket, not a measure of taste or musical depth.

    With the exception of certain operas, I try not to fetishize individual soloists or conductors (Lenny Bernstein was a great educator and popularizer, but I hear nothing special about him as a conductor.). Thought experiment: listen to Mozart’s piano concerto in D minor, or the late great concerto in A, as performed by some hot shot (usually Jewish) rock star. Then listen to it performed by say the Slovakian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. You’ll discover that the real star is Mozart, not the conductor, not the soloist.

    In the rather good movie Green Book, the haughty black pianist says “Nobody plays Chopin like I do.” Having played Chopin, I find the statement illiterate: Chopin is so expressive that no further expression is required. Just play it as written, and you will get laid.

  126. @Anonymous

    Is Gould Jewish?

    Not even a little bit.

    • Agree: Lace
    • Replies: @Lace
  127. @Lace

    Berg wasn’t Jewish, nor was Webern. Of the big three of the Neuer Wiener Schule, Schoenberg alone was Jewish.

    • Thanks: Lace
    • Replies: @Lace
  128. Lace says:
    @Anonymous

    As has been said several times (and I did earlier too), *NO*.

    It was changed from Gold, which is Jewish or usually Jewish (this proves it isn’t always.) I’m glad it finally came up, though, but if you don’t really know the name ‘Gould’ you could easily assume it was a Jewish surname (I did for years.)

    They were Presbyterian.

  129. @Papinian

    There is just one complete recording of the Goldbergs played on the clavichord. The performer is a Czech keyboard player named Jaroslav Tůma.

    There are several partial recordings of the WTC on the clavichord, Colin Tilney’s being very fine. The only complete WTC on clavichord known to me is a superb sixty-year-old recording by Ralph Kirkpatrick, who recorded each of the two books on a different instrument, the instrument used for book 1 having to my ears the more delicate, subtle sound. Kirkpatrick’s recording is available as a pair of two-CD sets on Deutsche Grammophon’s Archiv label. Incidentally, he plays all the repeats.

    I missed a chance to hear Kirkpatrick play Bach in the early sixties. A few years later, I heard him play Couperin and Rameau on the harpsichord while accompanying the great tenor Léopold Simoneau. It was one of the most memorable events of my life. Friends who taught at Yale, where he was in residence for decades, heard him play frequently, but I heard him just one more time: in the late seventies at the Frick in New York, when he was totally blind. He played a Scarlatti recital on harpsichord, a program he toured widely with, from memory. He entered and left the stage unaided, guided only by a suspended string that led from the backstage area to the keyboard bench.

  130. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    I too much prefer Fischer and Rosen to Gould. Richter and Demus are also preferable.

    Your desire for free use of the sustaining pedal doesn’t jibe with your liking for Rosen, however, as he was Spartan in his use of the pedal when he played Bach. His very discreet pedaling is plainly detectable on his famous CBS/Sony recording of the Goldbergs. He played it the same way in concert.

    Of the other three pianists listed above, Fischer used the pedal most when playing Bach. Richter also used it pretty heavily, but no two of his performances were ever alike.

  131. Jack D says:
    @kaganovitch

    OK – “Kosher” STYLE Deli. No mashgiachs were harmed in the making of this sausage.

    I have told this story before. When my father first came to the US he worked in meat processing plants in NYC. One such plant had a kosher and a non-kosher division back to back in the same building, but, intentionally there were no internals doors connecting the two facilities. Sometimes on Thursday afternoons they would run out of kosher corned beef – too many orders for the weekend. The boss would summon the kosher supervisor – “Hey Rabbi, why don’t ya get yaself a cuppa coffee? Heas five bucks (in those days $5 was a lot more than it is now). By the time he returned, a sufficient # of “kosher” corned beefs had magically appeared.

  132. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Gould’s Bach is controversial. I think that contributes to his hero status among Jews.
    Personally I like it but I am not an expert judge.

    Bach has written emotional music eg Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Saint Anne Prelude.

  133. Jack D says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Thought experiment: listen to Mozart’s piano concerto in D minor, or the late great concerto in A, as performed by some hot shot (usually Jewish) rock star. Then listen to it performed by say the Slovakian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. You’ll discover that the real star is Mozart, not the conductor, not the soloist.

    This is just the 80/20 rule in action. Generally speaking, you can get 80% of the performance at 20% of the cost and getting that last 20% will cost you the remaining 80%. You can buy a Chinese piano that is 80% as good as a Steinway. You can buy a low end stereo system that has only 20% more distortion than a high end system. They will all sound pretty good, at least to an inexperienced ear.

    Yes, Mozart is to some extent unruinable – a Mozart tune played as a cell phone ringtone or on a little Casio keyboard is still a Mozart tune and is still catchy. But the Slovakian National Radio Symphony Orchestra with Slobodan Slobovic conducting lacks that certain je ne sais quoi and there’s a reason why their CDs (back when there were CDs) were in the bargain bin section.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  134. Lace says:
    @kaganovitch

    But these names are impossible to know unless taking them all singly. While the Golds of Toronto, including Glenn, went to ‘Gould’ so as not to seem Jewish, I just looked up on a hunch Morton Gould, and he is “New York-born, of Russian-Austrian Jewish extraction”, but I had also looked up last night “is Gould a Jewish surname” and it said “No.’

    I hadn’t heard of Morton Gould for many years, but he was apparently very versatile–composer (for orchestras and B’way), ballets, conductor, pianist…the only thing I knew was American Concertette, written for Jerome Robbins’s Interplay for Piano and Orchestra, a one-act ballet. It has the 40s period sound, with a charming middle section; reminded me immediately just now of some of Leonard Bernstein’s works like Fancy Free and parts of On the Town.

    So there are Goulds like Morton who are indeed Jewish, and Goulds like Glenn who are not. I wonder why they thought it would sound Gentile–I imagine there were lots like me who didn’t know till looking it up, and as I mentioned before, he was still always asked if he was Jewish. And so also there are ‘Golds’, as Glenn Gould’s family was previously named, who aren’t Jewish. So if there are rules to any of this, there are dozens of exceptions.

  135. Lace says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Love it. I have gotten laid after Liszt and Boulez and Schumann. I liked Chopin much more when very young and never really loved one of the big pieces except the B Minor Sonata, which I’ve played publicly many times–and I think the Scherzo is still the most perfect movement, although the first movement is quite thrilling to play. No, I’d have to say his A Flat Ballade is perfect, better than the F Minor, but I never fully polished it. The Mazurkas are the only small pieces I really love, although when the orchestra plays 5 or 6 of the Waltzes for Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides, I go pretty nuts over that, and definitely prefer the orchestra adaptation. There’s an old tape of Nureyev and Fonteyn with Royal Ballet doing this, which is fantastic.

    But I never would finish the Fantasy and the Nocturnes and Polonaises bored me. I do like the final Scherzo in E Major, which seems to be the least played, and I haven’t ever done it either. But Chopin’s romanticism somehow lost me in my 20s. Since we’re talking about Glenn Gould, I read last week or so that he also especially liked the B Minor Sonata, but not much else.

    But there’s the Liszt B Minor Sonata, which I think is his best piece, and that is the kind of romanticism I love most. Although I know the Chopin B Minor much better, I prefer the least easily. I’ve worked on it a lot, but never enough to do it in a public performance. I like a lot of Liszt, so he may be my favourite Romantic composer up until Wagner. He wrote lots of corny pieces and transcriptions (like ‘Reminiscence de Norma’), but was such an extrovert and showman it doesn’t matter–could do everything, was a genius, although I’ve heard some people call him ‘immoral’. Well, better than being a eunuch or near-eunuch, and I have never been sure that Chopin ever actually ‘committed acts’ or not.

  136. Dmitry says:
    @Jack D

    With pianos, what you wrote is just a total and complete nonsense. (Although what Steinway model and what condition?).

    With hi-fi, it’s perhaps technically true, but not subjectively. To enjoy symphony music, you will usually need something like $500 for studio monitors. But with speakers that cost less than $100-$200, it could often become a situation where you did not enjoy the symphony, or your taste for type of music is changed.

    For example, many people might not enjoy classical or jazz music – whereas if they had adequate speakers, their actual taste would become different.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  137. Dmitry says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I don’t think so – from the listener’s experience, the pianist often effects the listener, more than what they play.

    I.e. if a good professional pianist, with excellent touch, phrasing, plays an arrangement of Disney music – it could easily sound better for us, than a less competent pianist playing a famous work of Mozart (think about 10 year old piano student practicing Mozart in the next apartment for an extreme example of how good composition doesn’t always imply enjoyable listening).

    Having played Chopin, I find the statement illiterate: Chopin is so expressive that no further expression is required.

    It’s not an issue of needing “further expression”. There are all kinds of problems with many people playing Chopin, which are not to do with lack of “expression”, but which mean we won’t enjoy listening to the music particularly.

    And in terms of how Chopin played himself – he himself played metronomically in the left hand, which almost no-one learns for Chopin today, so if anything we should be trying to play Chopin “less expressively” than current fashion and way we learn.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  138. Lace says:
    @Pierre de Craon

    Thanks for that correction about Berg, I know it wasn’t just the name seeming Jewish, I thought I read it somewhere, but that would have been 30 years ago–but I couldn’t have.

    I knew Webern wasn’t. I just found this: As early as 1933, an Austrian gauleiter on Bayerischer Rundfunk mistakenly and very likely maliciously characterized both Berg and Webern as Jewish composers. . I knew Webern had been harassed even though not Jewish, but hadn’t remembered this particular story.

  139. Jack D says:
    @Pierre de Craon

    #1 – a clavichord sounds too much like a banjo for its own good. You do NOT want to sound like a banjo, especially if you are being used to play classical music.

    #2 Clavichords are not very loud. Historically the were used more as practice instruments than to give concerts because they were not loud enough to be heard in a concert hall and certainly could not be played with an orchestra. With modern technology (recordings, amplification) this can be overcome but you still have problem #1, which cannot.

    • Replies: @Pierre de Craon
  140. Jack D says:
    @Dmitry

    80% as good is subjective but here is a $20,000 Chinese grand:

    Most people could not tell it from a $100,000 Steinway Model A in a blind test.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  141. @Not Dale Clevenger

    And he conducted the Mexican National Symphony Orchestra during the 1968 Olympics, the Olympics of the Black Power clenched fist.

    So it’s safe to say that Dean Dixon lived his life to the fullest iSteve content generation.

  142. @Jack D

    I know your opinion now, and I am none the better or the wiser for being exposed to it. I need hardly add that J. S. Bach would have dismissed you rather more abruptly.

    Anyone who thinks that “clavichords are not very loud” is a statement with aesthetic relevance would do well to retreat to Aerosmith, whatever that might be.

  143. @Papinian

    A follow-up to the earlier reply: I just learned that Jaroslav Tůma has also recorded both books of the WTC on the clavichord. His recording is on the Supraphon label. So that’s two complete recordings on Bach’s favorite keyboard instrument.

  144. @Charles St. Charles

    Yes, I suppose it is, but the fault is not Gould’s. It is US musical culture—indeed virtually all US culture—that is midcult, root and branch, and profoundly conformist to boot. Some few of Gould’s greatest admirers are deeply cultivated people, but perhaps 80 percent of them wouldn’t even recognize the Goldberg Variations if they tuned them in on the radio when the performance was five minutes along. Most Americans, not just Gould’s fans, treat serious music as if it were wallpaper rather than something that requires and merits one’s undivided attention. The (((masters of the culture racket))), as is their wont, think this situation is just grand.

    More than fifty years ago Stravinsky wrote, “Most people prefer talking about music to listening to it,” and things were immeasurably better then than they are now.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Replies: @Lace
  145. @Pierre de Craon

    Piano, harpsichord, clavichord, blathericord. Whatever. Unique among composers, Bach is the guy you play in your MIND.

    Also, regarding the electric clavichord, it’s John Paul Jones on “Trampled Under Foot” for the win. Sorry, Stevie, but silver medal for “Superstition” is still quite respectable. And you beat JPJ around the block every other time, so, no worries.

  146. Somewhat OT: The Met has cancelled its entire 2020 – 2021 season. I will save a ton of money, but damn!

    https://www.metopera.org/user-information/2020-21-season-update/

  147. @Lace

    When that I was an’ a little tiny boy, my first piano teacher was a stuffy old Italian grandmaster who used the hideous Czerny as his basic text; but he also had a soft spot for Anglo-Irish folk tunes and New Orleans blues and honky-tonk: I learned a viciously hot version of “Basin Street Blues” from an old Italian man when I was seven.

    By middle school, I had switched teachers, and the new guy was a young, thirty-ish dude from a failed rock band that had aaalllllmost made the big time, but not quite. But he had a classical education, and perfect pitch. He made me burn Czerny in a parking lot, and started me on WTC. He also taught me Chopin and Schumann, but he had a strict regimen: scales, chords, inversions, arpeggios. As a reward, since he had perfect pitch, he offered to transcribe anything for me that was popular, so I could play it at school and become a dude.

    I used to bring him things like Queen and Black Sabbath, and he’d go, Ugh! Come on! Bring something interesting!

    Finally I brought him “Benny the Bouncer” and said, Transcribe this solo. He did, I learned it, and my high school romantic life became noticeably more interesting afterwards.

    • LOL: Lace
  148. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I think you are completely correct in your reading of the situation of this talented 1th getting brownie points from that loathsome old (now finally dead) hag (who I doubt knew anything about Bach or had any genuine feeling for his work during her disgustingly prolonged existence). But I think you are off base in a couple of aspects of the latter part of your comment.

    Bernstein (whom I knew very well personally and for whom I had a high personal regard and affection) was a remarkable conductor. This does not mean he was a great conductor (I know many brilliant people who had convincing arguments as to how he was not) — but rather that he very intelligently and searchingly explored the music that he conveyed and interpreted. Many of these interpretations are arguably self-indulgent or wrong, but I would argue that even when so they add to one’s thinking on what the piece might truly hold within itself. In this regard he was quite like Glenn Gould, actually. For instance, I really like like the late, highly Beethovian recordings that Bernstein did of Mozart’s Symphonies 40 & 41. I would not try to argue that they are the “right” way or the best way to conduct Mozart, but they helped me, at the right age, cleanse my palate of a lot of horrible (to my ears) presentations of Mozart (i.e. Sir Neville Mariner, etc.). So I also don’t agree that the underlying composition, whatever it’s genius, cannot be traduced. Would that it were so.

  149. @Frankie P

    And Marian said that Bill’d displaced the phrasing so much that she couldn’t find a place a to come in!

    Marian deserves so much praise and credit. (And she never wavered in her support of Jimmy, who was a major stoner, but not a junkie.) I’ve seen her sunbathing in a swimsuit, but Jimmy sometimes disturbed by wandering around in the buff.

    BTW, how did Evans play and think so well at this stage in his life? He was living on 64-ounce Coke bottles and heroin for years.It’s amazing how much punishment the body and mind can take.

    • Replies: @Lace
  150. @Lace

    “It was clear that I value Gould enormously, and you don’t have to be so fucking heavy-handed when you are merely expressing an affinity as mine is itself.”

    Woman thine art, most indeed.

    And, objectively, Gould was a soulless robotic technician and likely a studio charlatan: many times I tried to recreate his blistering tempos, but the piano action was too sluggish. I tried on Steinways, Yamahas, and Kawais – no luck. I’m confident Gould was a studio fraud. But to each her own.

    • Troll: Lace
    • Replies: @Liza
  151. Lace says:
    @Charles St. Charles

    Even if you prefer anybody’s at all over either version of Gould’s Goldberg Variations, they are not midcult. Nothing about Glenn Gould is midcult. It is not even an idea that can be entertained sanely. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but there’s no ‘benefit of the doubt’ when all you write is just a couple of snooty lazy words, without even minimal backup. Others who prefer any number of other versions by other pianists certainly did that.

  152. MEH 0910 says:
    @Jack D

    It’s not an accident that Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, etc. were identified as being the very epitome of culinary prowess –

  153. MEH 0910 says:

  154. JMcG says:
    @Dmitry

    As an extreme example, I had a girlfriend years ago who would play Claire de Lune for me. She certainly wasn’t world class, nor playing on a world-class instrument, but no music before or since has ever moved me the way she did.

  155. Liza says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Some folks think that Gould can be compared to someone being able to spit a watermelon seed 40 feet. Just saying.

  156. @TheLatestInDecay

    Well said. I didn’t mean to be too harsh about Lenny, I was as they say, exaggerating to make a point. Lenny was a great man (I knew members of his family, and one of my girlfriends knew him personally, but I never met him myself), but mainly he was great in the same way that Andy Warhol was great — as a personality, as a totem, a creature of visibility and hype. I have no doubt about his musical integrity and his keen wish to explore; and on top of that, he was a superb educator, a great popularizer and explainer, and an all-around Lightning rod. God bless him. But he was obviously also a clear product of Jewish ethno-nepotistic media hype. There were and are many conductors of similar genius who never got the (((breaks))) Lenny got, let’s be honest.

    There are some works — I think of Rhapsody in Blue, and all of Wagner — where the choice of tempos makes an essential difference. On the whole, I tend to think that an individual who is deeply moved by a particular work tends to believe that the “only” valid version of that work can be the one that they first heard at the time. I was undergoing a severe spiritual and emotional crisis when I first heard the String Quintet in G Minor, which is of course about a spiritual crisis and its resolution, and for me, the only tempo that makes sense for that work is the one I first heard it in. Same thing for Georg Solti’s “Ring.”

    But I agree that there are ways to ruin Mozart, and Sir Neville Mariner is definitely one of them!

    Best version of “Gimme Shelter” I ever heard was by The Replacements, live at the Beacon Theater on one of their sober nights (you had to go see The Mats twice, once when they were drunk, and the next night when they were sober). So yeah, interpretation can make a difference. I just don’t like cults of personality.

    • Replies: @Lace
    , @TheLatestInDecay
  157. @Steve Sailer

    Jokingly: but how do we know she’s not just presenting as Hannah?

    Seriously: I stand corrected.

    (Fun fact: Glenn Gould was straight. Everyone thought he was gay/asexual but after he died the story of his affair with Cecelia Foss came out. And, as one can expect with Gould, the story was a doozy.)

    • Replies: @Lace
  158. @Jack D

    Decades ago there was a front page article (IIRC) in the WSJ about a piano being delivered into Ukraine.

    The Ukraine guy being interviewed talked about the piano being uncrated – a Steinway, “the finest piano in the world.”

    The USA still does some things right.

  159. Lace says:

    And, objectively, Gould was a soulless robotic technician

    This is ridiculous, your usual lack of social skills, and so ‘woman thine own art’, you could do with some ‘loosening of your infirmity’ (thanks for the Bible class, I had forgotten that although I’ve read both testaments.) To each her own, as you would say. You’ve probably heard only the Bach, and that’s not nearly all of it.

    and likely a studio charlatan:

    Even were that true, which you can also see on video it is not, there are many videos you can see now of him in live performance. The speed is there. There’s even a 1959 CBC docu in which he plays many pieces at his country retreat, including the first 2 movements of the C Minor Partita. I won’t make any recommendations, because this case is CLOSED. I won’t no more exchanges with someone as crude as you are.

    many times I tried to recreate his blistering tempos, but the piano action was too sluggish. I tried on Steinways, Yamahas, and Kawais – no luck. I’m confident Gould was a studio fraud.

    No, it’s that you didn’t have the speed or the talent, of course you can’t play like Glenn Gould, in concert or on record.

    The post is primarily about RBB, but even if she was being elitist or whatever with her token Negro, that doesn’t have anything to do with Gould himself and his incredible artistry [no sic] and genius. But you have made it about your own ‘artistry’ [sic and sick] and ‘scholarship’ to go to extraordinary lengths, only to find that YOU don’t have the speed. Furthermore, it’s peculiar you tried so hard in your suspicion so hard to prove Glenn Gould a fraud.

  160. Lace says:
    @Kibernetika

    Jean-Yves Thibaudet also greatly admired Bill Evans (as many other pianists and musicians, surely). But Thibaudet made an album Conversations with Bill Evans, which is good as far as it can go. In other words, it still sounds stiff all the way through–maybe it ‘means a thing’, but ‘it ain’t got that swing’.

    Particularly noticeable to me, because I think Thibaudet is a very fine pianist. I heard his G Major Ravel Concerto with the NYPhil, but primarily value some of the Complete Debussy (especially his Étude pour les arpèges composés, the opening of which he doesn’t treat like arpeggios, but is very slow so that each is part of a melodic line–brilliant, and one of the few times I’ve overtly imitated someone’s interpretation) and The Complete Ravel, and Menuet Antique sounds as good as it can on the pian0, although always better in the orchestra. Glenn Gould’s arrangement of La Valse is breathtaking–although he took it much too fast for any thought of the actual ballet, and there are a couple of pages he had to record necessary voices from the orchestra that you literally can’t do without at least 3 hands. It’s a brilliant La Valse, a piece I’ve enjoyed working on in recent years almost more than any other. Both Balanchine and Frederick Ashton have made brilliant ballets to it, although the Balanchine also includes Valses Nobles et Sentimentales.

    But his Bill Evans album is must-listen for Bill Evans fans, and how he has influenced classical musicians so greatly, even if I would rather just listen to Evans’s records (I have some ancient LPs.)

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  161. Lace says:
    @Pierre de Craon

    Agree that the entire U.S. culture is mid-cult, mind-numbingly so. That’s been mostly noticeable to the point of not being able to miss it since the early 80s–in the 70s, there was still a lot going on. Movies barely even seem to exist when you watch one. But I feel the same about fiction. I don’t see any Mailers or Bellows or Didions around (or rather, she’s no longer producing, the others are dead.)

    But even for someone who thinks Glenn Gould is ‘mid-cult’, which I find absurd, he died just as this Reagan-periods ‘culture’ fully came into being. So if someone wants to call him ‘mid-cult’, it’s not because he was from this obvious period. This period which has gotten worse and worse with each new decade, till finally culture in a traditional sense is something you have to search out, bad or good, i.e., the culture is the iPhone. And will become more so. There was some major serious music in the 80s and 90s, as Boulez’s Repons (which I saw first at Columbia U. in 1986 and in 2003 at Carnegie Hall, which had had the whole hall torn apart to accommodate the electronics (and you could hear the computer sounds that way, which I couldn’t in 1986–you had to be sitting in the right place to hear les répons in that performance, and all I could hear was the orchestra. Boulez conducted both time.) Xenakis was never even remotely mid-cult and wrote till 1997, but his works are truly unique, but you don’t have to know what Stochastics music is to enjoy it. I like La légende d’Eer among the electroacoustic pieces especially, but the more well-known like Metastasis and Persepolis are also wonderful–but he’s a ‘biological sport’ and even most serious musicians don’t want to hear him (I saw a NYPhil concert with a violinist snickering at the music as she played it). The nearly impossible piano pieces are wonderful too–you may know Evryali and Herma. I have liked some Stockhausen as well, but don’t know him as well as I should. Berio either, but the days of Cathy Berberian seem as far back as Guillaume de Machaut at this point.

    In any case, even these masters come from previous generations, and the current bimbo RPG culture cannot even imagine them–and it’s at least true that ‘there’s not a lot of money in it’. I enjoy a lot of art galleries in Chelsea and Madison Avenue, but these too are mostly entertainment–out of about 200 shows I went to in 2019, I saw merit in about 3 (although I’m no specialist.) You just walk through the gallery districts and it is like entering different people’s dream lives. But definitely much of it mid-cult.

    In opera, I find no performers to equal Kiri TeKanawa by now, and ballet is worse–although Paris Opera Ballet is still first-rate, and you can see ‘real things’ at the Kirov, which I’ve been to once when they were here. Nothing at NYCBallet comes close to the old Soviet movie of The Sleeping Beauty with Alla Sizova from 1964.

    But it’s mind-numbingly dull, and I don’t see it doing anything but getting more and more digital.
    Too long, but I thought I would add some other examples of the hideousness of ‘mid-cultness in American culture’, both in music and the other arts.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  162. Lace says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    And even if Bernstein was not a *great composer*, he certainly made some very good things, including the popular things. There’s no other B’way musical score like West Side Story, and Candide has some extraordinary songs and is often performed by opera companies.

    I don’t know nearly all of it, but think that his Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety (based on the Auden poem) is a masterpiece. And the old recording with Lukas Foss was truly a revelation when I heard it when I was about 9. Really a kind of piano concerto, and Foss could really play. Interesting that his wife Cornelia became lovers with Gould but then went back to Foss. Only time I’d heard of anything amorous about Gould–but she’s still alive and was teaching in NYC recently (may still be.)

    And you can see the TV performance of Bernstein and Gould doing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor. There’s also the famous broadcast with Bernstein’s disclaimer regarding his disagreement with Gould about the Brahms First Piano Concerto, which I need to get around to. That one was Gould’s U.S. TV debut.

    • Replies: @TheLatestInDecay
  163. Lace says:
    @Jane Plain

    Cornelia, not Cecilia…she talked about it around 2007, and I can find only minimal facts about it. Had met in Los Angeles in 1956, became lovers a few years later, she left Lukas in 1967, it lasted till 1972, she went back to Lukas. after having moved to Toronto with her 2 children to be with him. Is there anything more ‘doozy’ than that? Any enquiring minds want to know. There were probably other adventures, but he was so private (and so successful at being private), that we may never even hear so much as rumours. And Lukas was no wuss–amazing he took her back, let her determine their whole lives, but maybe they’d always had an open relationship and he had other paramours too. I know nothing else of them personally.

    But do tell if you’ve got further details.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  164. @Lace

    Bernstein’s greatest work in a purely classical mode is the much-overlooked “Serenade” for solo violin, strings, and percussion. It is supposedly based on Plato’s “Symposium” but I don’t know about that… I was at Tanglewood in July 1986, as Bernstein’s guest, when Midori broke two strings (sequentially not simultaneously) during her magnificent performance of this great piece, conducted by the composer.

    • Replies: @Lace
  165. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I agree completely that Bernstein got enormous breaks because he was a Jew, and furthermore he advanced professionally due to an unrelentingness and indefatigability which is the central key to the mind-boggling success of the Jews — look at the vile RBG’s awe-inspiring efforts to cling to earthly life a few months longer solely in order to advance her people’s mission of undermining the sustainability of the lives of ordinary decent people.

    Anyway, enough about Lenny. To my ears the greatest pianist of the period for which we gave recordings is Sviatoslav Richter. The film of his command performance at Stalin’s funeral is uncanny, a kind of musical equivalent of Nadezhda Mandelstam’s “Hope Against Hope.” Anyway, there would be much more to say on all of these worthy subjects, but for some talmudic reason my comments, uniquely, are sent into “moderation” for a day or so and are usually not published at all, which somewhat takes the life out of the booze as regards this sort of elevated dialogue. The one time I saw The Replacements live I, shortly thereafter, woke up with the barmaid from the venue at which they had been boisterously performing. There’s some dirt that just doesn’t wash off…

  166. @TheLatestInDecay

    True story: at the Beacon Theater Mats concert where they played the most blistering “Gimme Shelter” I ever heard, I was a kid reading Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” at the time. I had it stuffed in my back pocket during the show, and I was jumping up and down like an idiot so much, it fell out of my pocket and I lost it.

    Two days later I went by the Beacon front desk, and told the Lost and Found people that I’d lost a copy of “The Idiot”, did anybody turn it in? They had a look: Sure thing, they said, and handed me the book.

    It was somebody else’s copy.

    The Mats, the Minutemen, Captain Beefheart, takes one to know one.

  167. Lace says:
    @TheLatestInDecay

    I heard this piece in Dec., 2001 without knowing anything about it, nor having ever heard it–and wouldn’t have remembered the name of it had you not written it. Just looked it up so make sure: Joshua Bell with David Zinman conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The publicity I just found of that concert called it ‘Serenade after Plato’s Symposium’, and mentioned a recording Bell and Zinman did of ‘West Side Story Suite’, and songs from ‘On the Town’ and ‘Candide’. The tracks list ‘Phaedrus: Pausanias’, ‘Aristophanes’, ‘Erizymachus’, ‘Agathon’, and ‘Socrates: Alcibiades’, so am interested that you have doubts about the Symposium being the basis. I’ll listen to it again.

    Always loved Fancy Free, and saw it a lot at NYCB. I think that opening of the old 1965 My Name is Barbra is Bernstein: “my mother said that babies come in bottles, but last night she said they come on special baby bushes…I don’t believe in the storks I know..they’re all in the zoo…busy with their own babies…and what’s a baby bush anyway…My name is Barbara”. I couldn’t tell from looking just now whether that is from a suite or was written for the TV show: It does use (and she does sing it as) ‘Barbara’, not ‘Barbra’, which I always found curious, since the show uses her name without the second ‘a’.

    • Replies: @TheLatestInDecay
  168. @Lace

    Yes, “ Serenade” is definitely based on Plato’s “Symposium” — I was just indicating that I personally don’t hear the relationship between Bernstein’s beautiful composition and its Platonic source. My favorite recording of it is the version with Gideon Kremer on solo violin conducted by LB.

    • Replies: @Lace
  169. Lace says:
    @TheLatestInDecay

    This quite intrigues me now, and I will listen to it with much greater interest now. Thank you for responding, as well as your other reminiscences of Bernstein. I would have to reread the Symposium after 40 years myself to have any strong idea, but interesting that you don’t hear the connections between Bernstein and Plato here. I’ve read the Auden, but years after I knew the Bernstein Symphony. I thought I could feel a connection between the Notes summarizing the poem on the sleeve, but then they were surely written with that purpose–‘3rd Avenue Bar’, ‘Colossal Dad’, ‘trying to solve through drink’, ‘going to one of the characters’ apartments’–that’s from memory, although I still have the old LP from about 1961 or 1962 when I got it. And I wasn’t going to question those Notes at that age. Only time I’ve heard of a ‘pianino’ and Foss was certainly able to play it. People sometimes talked about Bernstein’s ‘writing about New York City’, and I thought ‘The Age of Anxiety’ was very evocative of it, in Bernstein’s romantic way, before I got here. But I think I will re-listen to ‘Serenade’ just as music, I can’t fit the Plato in right now, but I could have some impressions of the Phaedrus, Alcibiades, etc., or not.

    • Replies: @TheLatestInDecay
  170. @Lace

    But his Bill Evans album is must-listen for Bill Evans fans, and how he has influenced classical musicians so greatly, even if I would rather just listen to Evans’s records (I have some ancient LPs.)

    Thanks, I will check out that Thibaudet album. Digging quality music is therapeutic and we all need that these days.

  171. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Pretty rare to find anyone reading Dostoyevsky these days (in the West). Is it crazy to suggest that there needs to be a project to archive pre-2000 cultural works that aren’t sufficiently woke?

  172. @Lace

    The translation of Plato’s “Symposium” by Tom Griffith (fine- press published then beautifully done in an offset edition by the ((once great)) University of California Press) is among the finest translations I have ever encountered. I don’t doubt that Bernstein was very genuinely responding to the Symposium, I guess it’s just that the quality of unbelievable yearning that I hear in the music is not how I experience Plato’s relaxed and comfortable text.

    • Thanks: Lace
  173. @Lace

    Right, Cornelia.

    Is there anything more ‘doozy’ than that?

    I was going to say that Foss never stopped trying to woo her back but you got that part. And he did. Get her back, I mean.

    I think one of the boys wrote a book about the whole thing which was, astonishingly, quite affectionate towards Gould, said he was a good stepfather. No one seemed to have long-term problems.

    I shrug my shoulders. I don’t exactly recommend this but…. it happened.

    • Replies: @Lace
  174. @Lace

    This is a very short ballet from the early 20th c., and a very important one,

    Why is it important?

    I’ve always thought of Dying Swan as one of those over the top Russian ballerina things, a trifle.

    • Replies: @Lace
  175. @Lace

    There are a few good dancers at NYCB and ABT but for how long? They’ve gone woke.

  176. Lace says:
    @Jane Plain

    It’s important historically, especially to balletomanes. I’ve never been even remotely interestested in it, never been moved by it. I don’t, however, know what you think would fall under ‘over-the-top Russian things’. Russian ballet is, by its nature, sometimes over-the-top, isn’t it? I don’t know if you mean even things like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty–I don’t think ballet gets any better than The Sleeping Beauty, and the best version I’ve seen is the Soviet movie version with Alla Sizova. That’s probably not what you meant.

    And I saw all the ‘pterodactyls flying’, as Toni Bentley put it, during the Golden Age of NYCB (at least a lot of it, in the 70s and early 80s), and gradually it has worn out for me. I last went in 2014, and they could still do Jewels very well, but Peter Martins had really gotten the precision, even if people hated him for other things. I don’t even keep up with it anymore. Some of the #MeToo things of careers ruined seem ridiculous there, almost more than anywhere else–dancers are physical and sexual. They made a great contribution to making NYCB uninteresting, and the last thing I read about was a NYT story of Suzanne Farrell coaching Maria Kowroski–in Diamonds, I guess, but can’t remember. I saw Kowroski in Diamonds once. As for ABT, they had become much more interesting for awhile in the 00’s (or I thought they had), and I saw some good performances by Vishneva, Gomes, Stearns and Hallberg. Still, the best ballet by far I saw in the last 20 years was Paris Opera Ballet, and if they could have only been at the Met instead of that terrible-acoustic Koch Theater. But the future of ballet, I haven’t any strong opinion. I remember Macaulay’s article about how genius Sara Mearns is, and maybe she is, and I’ve seen her once, but I have just not been connected to ballet for a few years. I never even think about it.

    I’m sure you’re right they’re all woke, in a possibly even more insipid, but not quite as loud way, as the Hollywood Club types–they’re all suffocating that way.

  177. Lace says:
    @Jane Plain

    Thanks for the material about the Fosses and Gould. I just found a ‘globeandmail’ article from 10 years ago about Christopher Foss, which tells the story. Very interesting, somewhat sad, but the open-minded attitudes of all concerned was quite striking. No, I ‘wouldn’t recommend it’ either, but I also don’t think anybody else could do it quite that well–and they did all handle it remarkably civilly.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments are moderated by iSteve, at whim.


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS