Glenn Gould on Television

Glenn Gould on Television

The Complete CBC Broadcasts, 1954-1977

DVD - 2011
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By the time he reached his mid-20s, Glenn Gould had changed the way the world listened to the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. By the time of his fatal stroke in 1982, two days after he turned 50, this daring and visionary artist had successfully challenged many of the most cherished conventions of classical music. Now, for the first time, the dozens of film and television programs Gould made with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1954 to 1977 are collected in their entirety... More than 19 hours of TV specials, concert performances, interviews and discussions collected on 10 DVDs make it possible to discover what Gould always considered some of his most significant and original life's work, most of which has not been seen since it was first telecast.
Publisher: [London] : Sony Classical, ©2011
Branch Call Number: 786.2092 GOU
Characteristics: 10 DVDs (19 hours, 12 minutes) : sound, color and black & white ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation


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Oct 12, 2012

I love the playing of Glenn Gould, so it was natural to watch these DVDs to get a feel for the man. These were different times, when Culture was written with a big "C", particular in the well-off, Torontonian and Presbyterian family in which he was raised. The talent is obvious, and his memory is amazing. In conversation with his host, he may think of a musical piece which would perfectly illustrate a point, then turn to the piano and play it from memory.
The man himself comes off as a strange character, which was his reputation. Despite his sense of humour, he comes off as stiff. This likely arises from his obvious shyness, which he demonstrates through his bent-in-upon-himself body language, and by his compensatingly high-blown language. At times, when he is lost in his music, he exudes the emotions of an ecstatic, but at other times, one wonders whether he is partly drama queen. Then again, how does one make highbrow TV riveting? Certainly, there were far fewer tools to do so available in those days. Clearly, Gould was putting his mind, heart and body into making good TV on a shoe-string budget. Given the times, it may have been great TV. Nowadays, considering the sound quality and the ultra simple editing of far too much material, I suggest that the whole collection may be of mostly historical interest. On the other hand, the CBC website sells this entire package at an incredibly low price. One can purchase it and enjoy the whole package over a more lengthy period than a library loan.

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