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Re: GG: Sex, Pianos and Audiotape

From: John Hill <jphill@HOME.COM>

> "Anne M. Marble" wrote:
> > "I gazed at CD 318, heartbroken. It was time to say farewell. Yet
surely no
> > one would ever replace her. ...<snip>

> Anne, I love your posts, but that fabrication above struck me as *really*
> un-Gouldian!

Well, I was trying to replay the tone of GG's famous "Memories of Maude
Harbor" essay, but I guess the "Rubinsteinesque" tone didn't really come
across. Now I _really_ appreciate Glenn Gould's writing. Darn, mocking
Rubinstein's writing style is harder than it looks! And GG's personas must
have been even harder to do. (Or maybe they just <sigh> came naturally to

> I don't ever remember GG "feminizing" his pianos in that way or equating
> his relationship to the instrument as being akin to sexual involvement.

Well, there was that one comment about the piano being hung decorously from
the chandelier. This makes some F-Minorites think about the old joke about
swinging from the chandelier. <wink> Yes, I know, that isn't what GG meant,

> One could make the argument, of course, that his performances involve
> a lot of sexual energy being sublimated toward other ends.

According to an old F-Minor post I just found, a female fan once wrote to
him, "You make love to the piano, and it is a beautiful sight to see..."
Darn, I can just imagine how that must have made him blush! :-O The same
post touches on Gouldian ecstasy, as well as the Sublimination Factor. You
can read more of this fascinating post in the archives:

> But I don't recall GG ever referring to his pianos as females.  Indeed,
> seems much more likely that he would refer to the Steinway as "good
> old 318" or "a resilient old chap" or something in a similarly
> WASP-ish faux- British, 50's-Torontonian kind of bent.  I could be
> wrong, of course.

I can imagine him thinking of CD 318 as a "chap." I'm not sure what name he
would have used for the Yamaha, though. And what would he call his pianos
when they were being disobedient?

> It would be interesting to look at Gould's use of sexual references
> in his own work.  He certainly made reference to "feminine cadences"
> and that type of thing (a holdover from studies at the Royal Conserv.
> no doubt) but for the most part, this type of language is rare for him.
> One of the few exceptions would be his comment on the Brahms
> Intermezzos recording as being "sexy" (which, ironically, seemed
> very appropriate).

I was just going to make a comment about Longfellow and Lancelot, but
Bradley beat me to it. :-> (From those names, may we assume that he didn't
think of his cars as females?) However, I'm not going to go as far as
Friederich and try to interpret those names as symbols of latent homosexual
feelings. Sheesh! Friederich was really stretching it there. To paraphrase
Freud, "Sometimes a big car is just a big car." :->

> Then again there was that period in his 20s around the time of the
> Jock Caroll photos where he did seem a bit more jaunty, racy and
> anxious to shed the relative conservatism of "Toronto the Good".

Well, he _was_ in his 20s at that time...

Anne M. Marble