Glenn Gould was born on September 25, 1932 in Toronto, Canada; and he died on October 4, 1982 in Toronto at the age of 50. There is no doubt that Mr. Gould was one of the most amazing pianists ever. He was especially known for his interpretation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
At the age of ten, Gould began lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. His piano teacher was Alberto Guerrero; he also studied organ with Frederick C. Silvester and music theory with Leo Smith.
In 1945 Gould passed the examination as a solo performer at the Royal Conservatory, signifying a professional level of attainment. In 1946, at the age of 14, he passed the music theory examinations and was awarded a diploma with highest honors. Gould continued piano lessons with Alberto Guerrero until 1952.
Of significant influence upon the teenage Gould were the pianists Artur Schnabel, and also Rosalyn Tureck. My personal interest in this recording was the fact that the pieces performed are mainly by composers other than Bach. What these pieces have in common is that they all have a sense of serenity, and Gould produces a marvelous sense of this peacefulness in this collection. The performances by Gould are satisfying and beautiful.
This album is a good example of Glenn Gould’s rare ability to interpret slow movements. We get to hear Glenn Gould playing music of the romantic era, even though it is said that Gould was not too fond of romantic music in general. I wanted to get a taste of Gould’s playing of Brahms, and Richard Strauss, while at the same time satisfying my curiosity on how he plays wrks by such composers as Scriabin and Grieg.
This is a great disk filled with extraordinarily beautiful music. The only possible negative aspect is that all the selections are either complete short pieces, or slow movements from a sonata, as is the case with the Strauss. All in all: Wonderful performances by the renowned Bach interpreter.
Here’s a rare video of the young Glenn Gould practicing Bach at his home.
And below another video, where Gould performs a section of J. S. Bach’s Piano Concerto No.7 in G minor with Toronto Symphony conducted by Vladimir Golschmann.