Friday, October 23, 2009

Original sin

On the airplane, I was thinking again about Glenn Gould.

In an earlier post ("Private language of music", 14th October 2009), I wrote:

I have a hunch why Gould refrained from playing in the public later in his career. The presence of attentive minds is a great stimulator. On the other hand, it sometimes stimulates one in a vulgar way. One would like to entertain, and therefore goes out of the way. A great art lies there, so it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is at the same time a distraction from purity, which Gould probably hated.
For a performer like Vladimir Horowitz, the audience is a godsend. Gould, on the other hand, thrived in the absolute privacy.

The crucial thing is that the very nature of music is transformed in the presence of others. We are social beings, and confronting others come so naturally to us. However, it also affects our existence. Maybe it is the original sin.

In a sense, Glenn Gould was trying the impossible. How to make music without the presence of an audience. It is like forgetting how one looked in the mirror. Knowledge has tainted our consciousness, and we simply cannot go back. The bliss of ignorance is never to return, not even as a momentary lapse, as in the unconscious there would be always knowledge.

Sometimes beauty holds a terrible truth. Gould's music is a Pandora's box.


Anonymous said...

Art tries to capture the whole human existence, beauty and ugliness, good and evil, sociability and seclusion, love and hate, hope and despair...the range of temperature and altitude are formative energy.
Art also has thermogynamics and potential energy. Amazing.

Anonymous said...


thermogynamics → thermodynamics

Anonymous said...

yes, amazing.

peoples' comments made your essays deeper, more interesting, insightful ...


by the way, i have a nice friend whose name is denny. i think he loves art so much just as i do love art very very much.

i am hoping that i can share my feelings on arts with him and other friends more frequently.

moomin0sun said...

As you know one important thing is that Guld was happy to play the piano in his life.
I think however art has poison itself,including of this is human being's happiness.
The poison is a medicine,
the medicine is a poison, isn't it?
And now birds are sining,it's calm day.Dr.Mogi!I run every morning.Thanks.

moomin0sun said...


not Guld, Gould

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

I think Gould might have been unfond of the adult society trouble-filled. He must have wished he could return to the pure child's world. But, I can't take hold of his mind accurately.

However, I can certainly say this. Yes, he must have had a color ball in his pocket...