Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Music Parable # 1: Glenn Gould


Iconoclastic Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould is waiting backstage at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, preparing to play a concert. He is approached by a janitor who wants an autograph. Gould obliges, writing across the 8 X 10 glossy photo of himself that he is handed:

“Glenn Gould, Los Angeles, April 10th, 1964: The Final Concert.”

Gould had yet to tell anyone that he was retiring from the concert circuit, though he had always stated that he preferred the level of control granted to him in the recording studio to live performance.  This was ironic coming from a classical musician who would regularly audibly 'sing' along with piano music he was playing.

Gould would continue to record until just before his death in 1982. This output included not simply recordings of classical works - Gould also wrote and recorded radio programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on non-musical subjects. Most notable among these was “The Idea of North”.

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