Glenn Gould: A Perspective

Welcome to the Glenn Gould: A Perspective web page which I hope will be of interest to admirers of Glenn Gould's work.

I suppose I am more or less an ordinary GG fan. Back around 1990 I borrowed a copy of the 1982 Goldberg Variations and since that time have listened to and enjoyed many of his recordings. I have also accumulated a nice collection of old Gould phonograph albums, one CD, Geoffrey Payzant's and Friedrich's book, a guide to the 1988 National Library GG exhibition, and a 1954 newspaper review. Another little treasure of mine are two musical scores, unmarked with no marginalia unfortunately, which are stamped "From the collection of Glenn Gould " that I purchased at a Friends of the National Library booksale. (They are for sale by the way.) Less tangible but a gift of greater value was my renewed interest in classial music that Gould's albums inspired in me. Learning about Gould's life has also provided me with a fun diversion from raising my three children.

Readers of this page are invited to send additional information and Glenn Gould anecdotes with which I might improve some of these articles. Send suggestions to

Michael Davidson

(I made a small update in January 2005. I can't believe that this page is almost 9 years old.)

Glenn Gould Resources

  • Glenn Gould liner notes to the 1954 Goldberg Variations
    Glenn Gould's 1955 Goldberg Variations was a legendary album and the music has remained available in music stores since then. What has been lost however, was his very interesting liner notes to this debut album. These notes are a bit heavy going in places and are mostly here to benefit listeners of the Goldbergs who have a bit of a background in music. Gould made other notes on Bach's Goldberg Variations including these from the program for recital at Plateau Hall in Montreal, November 7, 1955. Visitors may also be interested to look at Rolf Wohrmann's analysis of the first four bars of the Goldberg Variations theme by a quasi-continuous wavelet transform using an order 3 gammatone filterbank. The 1955 Goldbergs album was placed in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of fame in 1983.
  • Liner notes to Hallmark Recital Series: RS-3 (1953)
    Gould's first album was the little known Hallmark recording of Alban Berg's Piano Sonata Opus #1 recorded with Albert Pratz. Here are the liner notes to this album, a short essay on Alban Berg written by Gould. Of Gould at this recording session Albert Pratz wrote: "At 20, he was already an outstanding musician, and also already quite eccentric, even then. He wore his gloves and overcoat in the summer, always carried his kit of medications with him, and insisted on having the temperature in the recording studio up at 90 degrees. We had trouble getting him to play trios by composers he didn't care for, like Schubert or Mendelssohn. He wasn't too eager to record the Russian pieces (on this LP), either, but he was very gracious about it, and even seemed to enjoy himself at the time. He did a wonderful job, too. We recorded these pieces late at night, at about 1:30 in the morning, after the streetcars stopped running. That was fine with Glenn, because that was about the time he usually woke up! "
  • The Hysteric Return
    For his 25th anniversary album GG decided to poke a little fun at Vladimir Horowitz's "Historic Return" album. Here is the transcript of his fantasy return to concert life. See the National Library GG Pseudonyms page for more information on the characters mentioned here or look at the picture of Dr. Karlheinz Klopweisser for the general flavour of the proceedings. The National Library has a graphic of the Glenn Gould Fantasy typescript.
  • So you want to write a fugue
    Lyrics to a cute little madrigal whose first appearance was on a thin vinyl film record inserted into the Special Baroque music edition of Hi-Fi Stereo Review in 1964.
  • Portrait of the artist as a young man
    A Globe and Mail review of a 1954 GG recital. I happened across this review in an old newspaper which was likely preserved as a report of Hurricane Hazel which devastated Toronto that same day killing 80 people. A slightly unstable Javascript Gouldian banner adorns the bottom of the window.
  • A Glenn Gould Tour of Toronto
    Glenn Gould landmarks in and around Toronto for residents and visitors.
  • The Ecstasy and Agony of Glenn Gould
    The Steinway CD318 piano was Gould's prize possession and he used it to make all his recordings through the 1970's. This animated gif records the moment when the piano was dropped by movers cracking the casted frame holding the strings. (Hey! you don't get this kind of information just anywhere.) Although an attempt was made to repair it, Gould complained that his piano never sounded the same again. The Steinway CD318 eventually passed to the National library in Ottawa. The first photograph ("not his piano, not his chair") is by Walter Curtin for the Rolling Stone magazine interview and is used without permission. See photos scanned from Geoffrey Payzant's GLENN GOULD Music & Mind from Key Porter Books for others.

    Other GG Links

  • The Glenn Gould Archive of the National Library of Canada
    "This site was developed by the National Library of Canada which is the official repository of the archives of the late concert pianist, Glenn Gould." A rich and deep resource for GG fans and actually a bit of a shrine for the cult of Glenn Gould on the Internet. My personal favourite is the picture of the Gouldmeister's hat, scharf and gloves. Take a look at the marked up score for Anton Webern's Concerto for Nine instruments, Op. 24 and at their list of Gould WWW links for other leads. It is by far the best Glenn Gould site around and even comes with a little searchable database of Gould stuff.
  • The F_Minor Homepage
    ' "F_Minor" is a mailing list devoted to the discussion of the recordings and philosophies of Glenn Gould The list got its name from a quotation of Glenn Gould about the nature of his personality. Gould stated that if he were any key, he'd be f-minor, because "it's rather dour, halfway between complex and stable, between upright and lascivious, between gray and highly tinted...There is a certain obliqueness." ' This is a very lively mailing list and you can find out how to sign up here. Mary Jo Watts manages it. She has also compiled the exceptional Writings and Works, etc by and about Glenn Gould links page which is a must for any fan.
  • The F_Minor WWW Glenn Gould Links Page
    The most comprehensive collection of Glenn Gould links on the Internet.
  • Glenn Gould and the CBC
    "But it was the radio documentaries that most demonstrated Gould's extraordinary appetite for auditory challenge and formal experiment. Produced between 1962 and 1979, even today they stretch the listener's ears and mind with their multiple, simultaneous strands of information, woven together in contrapuntal textures..."
  • Glenn Gould Foundation
    "Glenn Gould postcards, sculpture, bulletin board, links... An excellent contribution."

  • Last Updated June 29, 1996 Visits since June 13, 1996 [Counter]