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The set also contains the only video of Gould in performance before a live audience, beginning with a scintillating rendition of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 filmed in 1954 – the year before his breakthrough recording of the “Goldberg” Variations.The other three Gould-Burton conversations are equally fine: one on Beethoven, another on Schoenberg, the last on Richard Strauss.
(From Gould the actual composer, we have here only the brief and brilliant Baroque parody, “So You Want to Write a Fugue?
(Their pre-performance chat includes Gould’s wry comment: “Putting all your cards on the table, Yehudi, you really don’t like the Schoenberg, do you?
”) Schoenberg was also the subject of one of four lengthy conversations, taped in Toronto but co-produced by the BBC and PBS, between Gould and Humphrey Burton, the noted British television director, host and author.
TORONTO — Since Glenn Gould’s death in 1982, a few days after his 50th birthday, his fame has grown steadily, largely through the issue and reissue of his many recordings for Columbia Masterworks (later Sony Classical) on CD, in various compilations.
At the same time, multiple biographies as well as collections of the Toronto-born pianist’s radio documentaries, letters, articles, liner notes and lectures have been published.
This was evidence of his penchant for mechanical adjustments to his preferred instruments, often resulting in an intrusive “hiccup” sound effect (which the pianist welcomed.) Gould believed that a piano need not necessarily sound like a piano, and sometimes asked his technicians to perform surgery on an instrument to achieve a more harpsichord-like sound, especially for Bach’s music.