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GG: On & Off the Record

For my birthday, I got _Glenn Gould On and Off the Record_ from
the National Film Board of Canada and it's pretty amusing.  It was
filmed when GG was 27 (1959) and features him walking around with his
dog Banquo, playing from the Art of the Fugue and a Webern selection
(anyone know which one?) on his Chickering, discussing his
compositions-- he said he wasn't content to write only in the idiom
of Strauss or Schoenberg but that he couldn't see beyond the pieces he
composed at that time and he didn't see a way to solve his dilemma.
He shows clear frustration on the topic. Also he clearly shows how
miserable he is at touring-- with great emotion and none of the
collected philosophical reasoning or the overblown humor he expresses
in _Concert Dropout_, or his writings for example.  As he talks in
winter gear, Banquo (a Collie) pants and the camera pans to people swimming in
Lake Simcoe. 

The second half of the tape sees him chatting with a NYC cabbie and
recording the Italian concerto.  The recording scene from _32_ short
films is based on this session.  The whole thing is funny and
unscripted.  The voice over is pretty much like those old social
studies film strips I saw in school but most of the time, it seems as
if they just put the cameras on and let them run.  One strange moment
occurs when Don Hunstein comes in to take photos and GG gets angry
when Hunstein says that the British press want to see GG's mittens on the
piano.  GG responds testily that he's "had quite enough of that sort
of photo." There's a funny moment when GG walks into the CBS studios
in coat, hat, etc in the summer, carrying his chair and some New
Yorker actually stops and gapes at him walking by.  

If you like _32 Short Films_ I especially recommend it.  It was about US$34

Ordering Info:
National Film Board of Canada  
Canadian Orders: 1-800-267-7710
US: 1-800-542-2164
International Inquiries:
NFB Canada, International Division
P.O. Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville
Montreal Quebec, Canada H3C 3H5
Tel 514-283-9439, FAX: 514-496-1895

-Mary Jo