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Re: GG: newbie with questions
According to www.glenngould.com Sony series consists of 16 videos plus
"Greatest Hits". I don't know whether Monsaingeon directed all of them.
No, Bruno only directed the `gg plays bach' series (GBs, AofF, question
of instrument). The others are all selections from gg's tv programs,
etc. Bruno made the selections and is the narrator for the whole
1. Is "Glenn Could, A Life and Variations" by Otto
Friedrich a good book to read next?
Sure. It was the first biography.
I have access to it. If not, what should I read next? I want to
know the gritty details, not the fluff.
I don't think any of the GG books are fluffy. The Kazdin book is
certainly the most vitriolic and gossipy (by a long shot) so you won't
find anything comparable in the others.
4. How often did GG have the piano strings changed, if ever?
I don't remember any particular discussion of piano strings, so I'd
assume they got changed whenever they broke :).
6. In the Portrait video, it was suggested he could sight
read flawlessly. But, isn't it very likely that GG knew
a lot of music that he never recorded?
Yes, he did. Given that he knew tons of orchestral literature, for
example, and never recorded any of it.
And that his 'flawless' sight reading ability is due to being
familar with the music from before?
I seem to remember a couple stories where GG was given obscure pieces
he'd never played before and rattled them off without problem. There's
tons of evidence that he had a truly phenomenal ability to read music
and commit it to memory without much effort.
7. Is GG's claim that he never practised true?
He practiced early in life. There's an anecdote from a fellow young
pianist who was giving a concert around the same time as GG was (in
Berlin I think) who stated flat out that Gould was practicing long and
hard for the concert.
This seems impossible to verify.
Bazzana makes a technical argument about this in his book (which is all
about the music, not the man). Namely in some Beethoven sonata GG
fluffed some notes in fast runs, exactly the kind of mistakes that
frequent practice would resolve. He had some other arguments too, which
I can't remember, but his conclusion was that he saw no reason to doubt
GG's statement that he never (well, rarely) practiced. He certainly did
on occasion, for example when he relearned the Emperor concerto in one
night before recording it the next morning :). (He stated that he
`worked on it' all night, although that doesn't necessarily sitting at
the keyboard :)
Or, in the end, was he mostly an entertainer?
I'd hardly call him an entertainer, because he was pretty uninterested
in mass popularity and the like. His purpose seemed to be more medieval
and artistic, or something. At least he wanted it to be so :).
He was certainly a gentle person, who seeks peace in the world.
Was that his basic message? Create and seek peace?
Peace? More like `seek your truth', maybe.
9. Did he ever write his biography, or start on it?
No, but there's a book Glenn Gould: Selected Letters you might find
interesting. (As well as the GG Reader that Veronica mentioned, of