Glenn Gould has given music lovers plenty to think about in the 80 years since his birth. We know him as a multidisciplinary artist whose activities began at the piano and branched out from there. This week, Tempo looks at Gould in his own words, through five quotations that show five different sides of the man who continues to inspire and enthrall us. Today, side one.
“If there’s any excuse for making a record, it’s to do it differently.” - Glenn Gould, 1968
Gould performs Variation No. 4 from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in a 1966 CBC Television performance.
Imagine you’re a big-shot New York City record executive in the mid-'50s. Your job is to produce albums that sell. Some lanky 22-year-old from Canada, of all places, tells you of his plan to record an esoteric piece of music. As Woody Allen so delicately put it in the film Stardust Memories, "For years I thought the Goldberg Variations were something Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg tried on their wedding night." Would you take the chance on this recording?
Somehow, the record executive agreed to it. And somehow, the record became the best-selling classical instrumental recording of all time.
Gould found comfort in exploring his musical ideas in the recording studio. His unique ideas are forever preserved on record, and his two landmark recordings of the Goldberg Variations bookend his career of outstanding accomplishments.
Hear Gould’s second recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on today’s Tempo. You can find more Tempo on Twitter and Facebook.
What if Glenn Gould had lived to be 80 years old?
Glenn Gould: The CBC Legacy
on Sep 24, 2012