Documentary by Bruno Monsaingeon (France/Canada, 2005, 1h07mn)
13 Octobre 2006 20h30 Auditorium, Musee du Louvre
Glenn Gould plays Bach
Credit: vagifabilov (Norway)
This clip of the young Glenn Gould at practice shows his two most vivid qualities as a pianist -- a genius and an eccentric. Look at the way he hums, the way he moves his hands and his whole body, the way he places his piano, the way he puts his legs, the way he dresses, the way he searches for inspiration, the way his emotions overwhelmed him, the way his fingers flies on the keyboard, the way he stops his practice... nothing is "orthodoxical" as the rules for a classical pianist, in particular, his low position to the piano and his peculiar body movements. He was recognised as one of the greatest pianist of the 20th Century at a young age, but the canon rejected him for the fear of breaking down the so-call "system", another old story in the development of modern and contemporary arts.
Glenn H. Gould (1932 – 1982) is famous for his unique interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations. This Canadian pianist loved to hum while he played, his recording engineers once proudly explained how successfully he was able to exclude his voice from his recordings. These hummings for Gould are subconscious singings, and increased proportionately with the inability of the piano in question to realise the music as he intended. In another word, his voice becomes part of the music compensating the techinical problems of his piano.
When he plays, no matter in live performance or in recording studio, he has to bring with him his old chair his father had made even when it was completely worn through. This chair is so closely identified with him that today it was covered in a glass case and is in display in the National Library of Canada.
This genius gave up live performance at the age of 32 (in 1964) and concentrated on studio recording, simply because his piano music is not only for the audience to listen to, but to watch and listen to and move with. That’s why we can see him playing today. It is said that Gould would never play a piece the same way twice. His favorite is Bach, when he plays Bach, it’s not him who’s playing, but Bach himself comes to life. In the documentary, he says while playing The Art of Fugue, "this note is a mistake. Bach would have amended it if he were still alive."
Here comes the most beautiful interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations recorded in around 1981. Are you ready for an awesome moment of trance?
Glenn Gould plays Goldberg Variations Aria & var.1-7
Credit: opus3863 (Japan)