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"I detest audiences....I think they're a force of evil."
June 4, 2013 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Glenn Gould on and off the record. The Russian Journey. Extasis. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The Goldberg Variations (1955), (1981). The Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven Sonatas. The Idea of North. TL;DW: Gould plays Bach
posted by seemoreglass (19 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
hehe... I like how in 'Off the Record' they have a sequence of Glenn walking the grounds with his dog and playing with a stick. He's wearing a heavy coat, thick gloves and a hat. It was probably like 90 degrees out that day!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2013


Gould was infamous in his avoidance of cold -- performs working with him in the studio were stunned by how hot he wanted the performance space to be. Supposedly, he was almost arrested in Florida for vagrancy -- only a vagrant would wear a long coat, gloves and a hat in Florida in summer, right?
posted by eriko at 10:57 AM on June 4, 2013


Thanks for posting these. LOVE Gould. Media and cultural visionary IMHO. I wonder what he would have created had he grown up with the internet instead of radio. Contrapuntal web apps is an interesting thought..
posted by jfts at 11:13 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:17 AM on June 4, 2013


Thanks so much for posting these. I've just watched 'Off the Record', and realized that I have never before heard Gould's voice other than humming along in the background of his recordings. I know what I'm going to be doing the rest of the afternoon.

I was hoping there would be a list of works played in the credits. I'm especially wondering what the slow piece played in its entirety towards the end of film is? I assume Bach, but don't recognize it.

The scenes in the Steinway building picking out a concert instrument are a hoot, especially with the guest appearance of Don Draper.
posted by TwoToneRow at 11:22 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I detest piano players audibly humming along. I want piano, not humming! Keith Jarrett does this too - I can't even listen to records where it is prominent.
posted by thelonius at 11:46 AM on June 4, 2013


So listen to the piano, not the humming.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:49 AM on June 4, 2013


My old nemesis, Gould's interpretation of the Beethoven sonatas, we meet again. Probably the most sarcastic interpretation of the Appasionata on record.

If you want to read a heroic story about a pianist who didn't make as much of a name for himself, you might enjoy this article.

Gould's Appassionata
Arrau
posted by Teakettle at 11:55 AM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, yes! Thanks so much!
posted by carter at 12:06 PM on June 4, 2013


ReeMonster: the humming is an annoying distraction. Suppose a piano player liked to shake a coffee can filled with change around while playing, and I told you to listen to the piano, not that. That is what you have just done to me.
posted by thelonius at 12:08 PM on June 4, 2013


I want piano, not humming!

I just think I'm listening to Glenn Gould playing the piano, rather than to piano music as such. It's kind of a package for me.
posted by carter at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't even call it humming, what Monk does. It's more like a sideband unconscious channel. But it has to be there, or it's not vintage Monk.
posted by surplus at 1:03 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is what you have just done to me.

Well, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Monk and countless other jazzers (and even a couple of classical players) make noise when they play too. So do tennis stars. So if Jarrett is too annoying you can always listen to a more watered down version of him, Brad Meldhau.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:10 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Esbjörn Svensson was another.
posted by opsin at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2013


It was "Standards" by Jarrett which I found so awful. The grunting and moaning is mixed really high.
posted by thelonius at 2:30 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this is the first time I've mentally compared Arthur Ashe to Maria Joao Pires
posted by Teakettle at 4:43 PM on June 4, 2013


Add me to the list of those not a fan of the humming/vocalisation thing.

With some performers, like Gould and Monk, it is not particularly intrusive, and maybe is even a little musically endearing at times.

But I find Jarret's 'extra bits' can be quite grating as he does not have the most sonorous or pleasing of voices, bit screechy and tinny to my ear. For example, in 'While We're Young' and 'Partners' from the Blue Note recordings with DeJohnette and Peacock, which are otherwise great performances.

[Also agree with thelonius that Jarret's album 'Standards' has some pretty bad extra bits on it.]

Please don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful for what the musical gods offer, and I understand that the deal is you take them with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies, or not at all. Certainly does not stop me listening to them and loving it.

But the random mouth noises thing does detract from the experience.

Yeah, yeah, first world problem, I know, but...
posted by Pouteria at 6:14 PM on June 4, 2013


I rented and watched Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould years ago. I found it both interesting and frustrating. As I told my girlfriend, he was a very interesting person, but I would have much preferred to see a straight documentary about him.

Years later, I saw the film Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould on the PBS series American Masters. THAT was the documentary I was waiting for. Highly recommended. (I see that Amazon has it available for streaming, don't know of any other online sources.)
posted by pmurray63 at 7:52 PM on June 4, 2013


Lots of classical musicians hum, some of them quite loudly. When Arturo Toscanini started doing radio concerts in the 1940s, he received a telegram from Geraldine Farrar, a soprano who often sang under his baton at the Met 30 years earlier. It read, "DEAR MAESTRO IT WAS SO GOOD TO HEAR YOU SING AGAIN."
posted by La Cieca at 9:25 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


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