|Glenn Gould's Statue in Toronto, Canada|
Glenn Gould, pianist extraordinaire
There was an interesting You Tube I stumbled across a few days ago. I had been playing a few You Tube selections of operas, master classes, and other musical selections that are available, and I found this film of Glenn Gould and his visit to Moscow in 1957.
This was at the height of the Cold War and there was a slight thaw as far as allowing Westerners some access. Mr. Gould's agent thought it might help Glenn's career to do something a little different and knowing that the Russians love classical music, even though they were not permitted to hear much "Western" music like Bach, for instance (too religious), Mr. Gould was allowed to come and perform. He was the first concert pianist from North America to be invited to play behind the Iron Curtain
Just a bit of background. Glenn Gould, a Canadian, was a genius, but even though he was a loner, not everyone remembers him that way, he could be funny and playful, but the piano was everything, and although he did perform in public, later on in his life he preferred to record alone in a studio. His "Bach's Goldberg Variations" is the most famous of his recordings. The technique, everything is unique. He sat on a hard backed chair, with his hands below the keys and somehow as he played this way, he created something technically amazing and quite beautiful.
I do not play the piano and cannot fully appreciate what Mr. Gould does, but even if you are not a classical music lover, you might enjoy watching the You Tube clip of his visit to the Soviet Union.
He begins his concert in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with only a half filled hall. Then something extraordinary happens, people begin rushing out to the telephones in the lobby to urge their friends to hear this pianist play music they had not been permitted to hear before. The film shows people running to the theater. There was a long intermission and then the hall was packed. He became a kind of rock star during his stay as he gave lectures and introduced the Soviets to the music of composers that had been forbidden. The film is in English with French sub-titles. There is much more on the internet about this reclusive, unusual musician.
He died in 1982, just 50 years old.
Glenn Gould: A Russian Journey (You Tube, but cannot find anyone to thank for being able to use this)