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Glenn Gould's chair
April 16, 2008 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Monsieur, you vill not speak disrespectfully of a member of ze family! It is a boon travelling companion, without which I do not function, I cannot operate. It has been with me for 21 years, zis thing, this chair!
Glenn Gould performed for 21 years seated in a folding card chair modified by his father to be height adjustable. That one chair accompanied him around the world in support of each of his recordings and performances, and now resides on a pedestal at the National Library of Canada. Luckily, exact replicas of the skeletal, cushion-less chair are available for only €990.

Glenn Gould was quite the eccentric musician. Witness his quirk firsthand at the CBC Digital Archives' Glenn Gould: Variations on an Artist.

Via AskMe
posted by carsonb (20 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey Glenn: don't use 1k stage lights as coat racks. You will burn your coat.
posted by Faux Real at 10:07 PM on April 16, 2008


ow.
posted by blacklite at 10:59 PM on April 16, 2008




Many years ago I heard Gould perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, and he would talk at great length between pieces in a dry, convoluted, intellectual style that was lost on all but those pursuing a PhD in music history.

So here he is about five minutes into expounding on Bach, and he says, "But one of the really interesting things about Bach is..."

He pauses just long enough for a prim, elderly woman about mid-way back to shout at the the top of her lungs, "...is TO PLAY HIM!"

Deafening silence. Then Gould says, "Well, yes, I'm getting to that," and goes on with his talk, although I like to think it was ten minutes shorter than it otherwise might have been.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:12 AM on April 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


Glenn Gould. Only a Canadian could whip out that... shtick about 'boon traveling companion' in the goofy accent and then sit on that ridiculous chair (it is ridiculous), his chin at the keyboard in some parody of how not to sit at the piano, and then churn out some of the finest interpretations of the finest music every composed.
If I could have a patron saint, it would be Glenn Gould.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:14 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


And the second video in the "smashing telly' link is really great. The dog yawns.
Thanks again.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:26 AM on April 17, 2008


I love the humming, where at first I thought I was hearing things. His version of Bach's Aria is stunning in its beauty and elegance.

Did the rest of the concert go well weapons-grade pandemonium?
posted by oxford blue at 4:10 AM on April 17, 2008


Hey, cool, I uploaded the chair video to YouTube because I couldn't watch it in whatever format it was in on the original website.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:20 AM on April 17, 2008


He and his father took it in turns to sleep with his mother. When it comes to Glenn Gould, one can only say, "What a strange man. What a colossal talent."
posted by orange swan at 7:09 AM on April 17, 2008


"What a strange man. What a colossal talent."

Isn't that often a case, though? All the truly smart people I know, and have read about, have certainly not been normal by any traditional metric. It's not a bad thing of course!
posted by oxford blue at 7:48 AM on April 17, 2008


You stay crazy Glenn.
posted by GuyZero at 8:31 AM on April 17, 2008


Did the rest of the concert go well weapons-grade pandemonium?

I recall it continued as if nothing had happened. It was a very conservative, appreciative audience. The woman was apparently just frustrated by Gould's talking instead of playing. She may have had something in common with Gould, who "...claimed that his singing was subconscious and increased proportionately with the inability of the piano in question to realize the music as he intended." (Wikipedia)

Also this tidbit from Wiki: "Gould was averse to cold and wore heavy clothing, including gloves, even in warm places. He was once arrested, presumably mistaken for a vagrant, while sitting on a park bench in Sarasota, Florida, dressed in his standard all-climate attire of coat(s), warm hat and mittens."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:43 AM on April 17, 2008


If you like Gould or just interesting writings about music (from many angles), the Glenn Gould Reader is pretty great stuff. It includes some of his excellent liner notes that Sony, in their infinite wisdom, replaced with disposable fluff in preparing their "Glenn Gould Edition".
posted by Wolfdog at 8:59 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]



He and his father took it in turns to sleep with his mother.



Say what now?
posted by stenseng at 9:18 AM on April 17, 2008


Well, she was a Grieg. He was A minor.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:53 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


He and his father took it in turns to sleep with his mother.

This blanket statement is out of context and thus, is deceptive. He slept with his mom only as a child of course, as many other children have done.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:47 AM on April 17, 2008


Searching for Pet Clark is about as fine a half hour of radio as you might ever hear.

(It's also good on the page, where I first read it, back in the long-lost pre-internet times.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:51 PM on April 17, 2008


His mother was Emma Greig Gould; her grandfather was a cousin of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The Scottish (Greig) and Norwegian (Grieg) variants account for the difference in spelling.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:58 PM on April 17, 2008


This blanket statement is out of context and thus, is deceptive. He slept with his mom only as a child of course, as many other children have done.

I don't think many other children have displaced their fathers in order to do so.

Isn't that often a case, though? All the truly smart people I know, and have read about, have certainly not been normal by any traditional metric. It's not a bad thing of course!

Yes, being very gifted in any direction can be a double-edged sword. What people often don't understand is that someone with an IQ of 180 is just as far from average as a person with an IQ of 80. Gifted people process the world around them differently and react in different ways. My mother, a retired grade school teacher with decades of experience, says she could always tell which kid in her class would get the highest IQ score on the standardized test. It was always the class weirdo who couldn't seem to figure out how to fit in.
posted by orange swan at 1:34 PM on April 17, 2008


This is good. And this.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:52 PM on April 19, 2008


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