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Kelsey Z.

Glenn Gould

July 20, 2006 at 2:29 AM

True artistry and musicianship lives and breathes through Glenn Gould. I came across this the other day and was completely dumbstruck and sat down, face glued to the screen and watched the whole thing. What intensity and energy and expression. I can't begin to even put Gould's playing into words because it's beyond words. You are in Gould's world when he plays, not him in yours.

Glenn Gould plays the complete Goldberg Variations

It was a sad day the day Gould died. May God bless him and his amazing career and dedication to music.

From John Chew
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 4:10 AM
I am a huge fan of Glenn Gould. Did you notice his chair? The chair he uses is low so he is actually closer to the keys. He was eccentric, but what an amazing musician.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 4:37 AM
I read recently the chair is the same one he used forever, made by his father. Of course you enter his world. I doubt he could enter somebody else's!

It's great to see these videos. Just 15 years ago we used to have to scrounge for them, sending letters to public tv stations and so on to try and get copies, or finding somebody who knows somebody who has a copy...

I always recommend Glenn Gould fans to rent the movie Slaughterhouse Five.

There's a woman out now specializing in Bach on piano. She sounds a bit like him, but is maybe taking it a bit further really. Don't have her name unfortunately.

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 4:38 AM
He was later found to have likely suffered from aspergers which would explain his eccentricities but still an amazing man with a wealth of knowledge and talent. I adore his playing. Yes, the bench is low! He's always had a very low bench and been rather hunched over but i thinks that part of how he is most comfortable because I don't get the idea that he's particularly outward or comfortable onstage, it's the music he's most comfortable with.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 6:33 AM
Thanks for posting that, Kelsey. This is blasphemy, but I'll confess that in the past I did not like the recording I had heard of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. I love this!

How do you find all these great videos?

From William Yap
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 7:24 AM
In one occassion, he had the piano lifted up instead. I saw it in EMI DVD of him playing Bach's Partita.

When he played, he mind drifted into another world. You'd notice that he hums through the entire piece. I have his complete recording of Hadyn's piano sonatas. When I listen to it using earphone, his humming is so obvious, and he doesn't skip a single note either!

From Neil Cameron
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 11:00 AM
From Jim W. Miller
Posted from on July 20, 2006 at 4:37 AM (GMT)

There's a woman out now specializing in Bach on piano. She sounds a bit like him, but is maybe taking it a bit further really. Don't have her name unfortunately.

Angela Hewitt, Jim?


From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 3:46 PM
Neil, I suspect it's probably Angela Hewitt. I've seen her 3 times. Amazing!

Pauline, I saw part of Art of Piano on tv the other day and there was this 3 minute excerpt of Gould playing a Bach concerto that literally nearly made me cry it was so beautifully played so I set out to the find that and in the process I found this!

I have Gould's first recording of the Goldberg variations (he recorded them more than once) as well as some of his other recordings and in all of them if you are listening with either headphones or on a good sound system he sings along. If you check out the Glenn Gould Archives on the net you can actually hear lots of audio excerpts of works recorded in his home. It's just stunning!

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 4:29 PM
That's her. I have to see somebody three times before I remember their name too :P
From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 20, 2006 at 4:36 PM
LOL, Jim. I knew who she was before I ever saw her. My sister played for her in a masterclass years ago.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on July 21, 2006 at 1:31 AM
Gould's humming used to drive the reocrding engineers nuts. For one session they constructed a plastic booth to separate him from the piano (except for his hands) in an effort to avoid the humming. I suppose now they would have no trouble removing the humming electronically, but I suspect that for most of his fans, his humming along is part of the charm. There is also an interesting documentary on him called something like "32 Pieces." I personally do not care for him all that much, but he certainly was a great and influential pianist.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 21, 2006 at 4:18 AM
Thanks for telling me about the Glenn Gould Archives, Kelsey. I like to explore recordings of music without paying for the CDs.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 21, 2006 at 4:22 AM
Seeing Glenn Gould on the video is interesting. He moves his mouth as if he's speaking out loud. It doesn't look like he's just humming, even if he is. He also looks like he must have had severe, chronic pain of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

The theory that he had Asperger's has been criticized by some reputable physicians. I've noticed a tendency to diagnose famous people retrospectively, as if a bioligical explanation for their aberrant behavior might legitimize it. Of course, medical and psychiatric diagnoses can not be made accurately retrospectively because of the lack of availability of lab tests, radiological exams, or even appropriate medical histories.

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 21, 2006 at 5:14 AM
Pauline, yes it is hard to diagnos an individual. I've worked with kids who have aspergers before and my sister worked with a child who had autism very severely (he lost all vocabularly and ability to speak) and Gould's mannerisms both in interviews and when playing are quite similar to those that I have observed and worked with in past. I actually have a violin student right now who is mildly autistic and he's probably my favorite student to teach because of how absorbed he gets into the music and he wants so badly to become a very good violinist. I guess I should just say though that it is speculated that Gould may have had aspergers or a similar disorder.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on July 22, 2006 at 1:13 AM
Now there's a guy who gets it. I can't believe I've never heard him play. Nor have I heard the Goldberg varaiations. (How do I even call myself a musician?) He plays with the kind of purpose that makes my toes feel it. I had to dance around the room.

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