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Eaton Auditorium

Hi, Alun

Regarding the contrapuntal music leaking through the deserted
department store, I'm sure you're *very* close to being right!
The stories from the Kazdin book about the Eaton Auditorium are
fascinating, especially the sessions in 1979/80, when the store
had been sold, was completely deserted and was in various stages of
being demolished.  One can just imagine GG in overcoat and scarf
playing CD318 while giant heating fans stood idly by, ready to
stave off the chill of the early morning November air.

It makes perfect sense that Gould would embrace this room as
his "personal studio" for recording work during the 70s.  Using
it released him from the burden of travelling to NYC to Columbia's
30th St. studios (he hated New York *and* the commute).  As you
mentioned he *owned* all the recording gear, Kazdin could fly in
from NYC and they could spend as long as they liked in this space
without the burden of the next client coming in to "kick them out"
at a prescibed time. I'm sure that these were all important issues for
Gould, because he could really relax (repose?) in this environment
and just dedicate himself to the music at hand.  In addition, the
acoustics were good (with a low noise floor) and they had complete
control over mic placement and the entire recording process.  Artists
*love* to have this kind of control; it lets them relax and the end
result is that better performances end up on tape.

I was never in the original Eaton Auditorium, but I understand that
it was the top floor of the department store.  Eaton's is now located
in the trendy EATON'S CENTRE, which is down Yonge St. a block or two
from where the original store was located.  Although it might seem
strange for a department store to have an auditorium, Eatons's was *the*
major store in one of Canada's largest and most important cities.  In
addition, Steinway had an agreement to sell pianos at Eaton's and this
may have been the original rationale for putting in an auditorium on the
top floor.

I've seen very few photos from sessions done in the Eaton Auditorium.
Most of the Columbia photos were by Don Hunstein, but I'm not sure how
frequently (if ever) he ventured north of the border to snap photos of
Gould, et. al. Anybody know of photos or videotape shot at Eaton's in the

best regards,

John Hill
Dept. of Recording Industry
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN  37132

On Thu, 30 Jan 1997, Alun Severn wrote:

> Eric wrote:
> >      Almost all the music I listen to these days is solo or small
> >ensemble composition that, on the whole, contains the more private,
> >intimate and progressive musical (and other?) thoughts of the composer [....]
> Me too. But I have been thinking over the observations about GG's musical
> tastes in Friedrich's biography. On GG's idealisation of "North" as a kind
> of intellectual/philosophical concept, Friedrich also notes that this is
> reflected in GG's musical taste: he spurned the French composers almost
> wholly; knew nothing about Italian opera; recorded almost wholly German,
> Scandinavian and "Northern" composers. Interesting.
> But I have another question for List members, especially maybe for Canadian
> members. I am fascinated by Friedrich's account of GG "finding" his ideal
> recording venue in Eaton's Department Store auditorium. Apparently, GG
> convinced CBC that rather tha commute during recording sessions to NYC, to
> the 30th St Studio, he should have a studio in Toronto. GG bought *all* the
> equipment. Studio time, at Kazdin's suggestion, was charged back to the
> record company at the going studio hourly-rate.
> My question: what was this Eaton's auditorium, and how come a dept. store
> had an auditorium? I read that recordings couldn't start until 9pm when the
> store shut, and I imagine -- wrongly, I'm sure -- this old-fashioned store,
> haberdashery and dustsheets drawn over the display cabinets, and in the dim
> lights, GG swaying on his perilous, creaking chair, glorious contrapuntal
> music audible throughout the empty store, on each deserted floor.....
> Someone tell me that I'm *almost* right -- please?
> Best,  Alun
> ________________________________________________________________________
> 1 Chestnut Road, Oldbury, West Midlands  B68 0AX  England
> voice: 0121 422 9509    email: alun@ukiah.demon.co.uk
> ________________________________________________________________________
> ...[it is my] sober conviction that no piano need feel duty-bound
> to always sound like a piano.                            -- Glenn Gould
> ________________________________________________________________________