The brilliantly eccentric pianist Glenn Gould hardly seems the kind of artist who would spawn a school of disciples.Andrew Rangell's recital at the Phillips Collection yesterday afternoon made it clear that he has at least one.
An admirer though never a student of Gould's, Rangell explores music in a like manner, turning every note inside out to come up with interpretations that are consistently arresting and never conventional. Rangell, incidentally, included Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in yesterday's program, his second appearance at the Phillips. Some years back that same work was part of Gould's Phillips debut, a recital which sent his career rocketing.
If he is not a pioneer, Rangell is no mere follower. His communication with a work is intense and his gifts impressive. Filtered through his searching intelligence and projected with concentrated emotion, the pieces emerge in fresh form. He brings us precipitously close to the act of creation the music seems to be evolving as he plays. Stylistic formulas may be violated but a composer's thought process becomes wondrously clear. Revelation, not recreation, is the goal.
Rangell underlined the originality of a Haydn sonata by laying bare its wide-ranging moods. With subtle variations for melodic repetitions he stressed the shifting feelings in a series of Chopin mazurkas. The "Goldberg Variations" were imbued with a luminous spontaneity.