Bach Project - Tim Page
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Music Critic
Whatever the proper view of Bach playing in the Fifties was,
Glenn Gould turned it all around. This was a strutting Bach.
This was a sort of sexy, out there, very physical Bach.
It was something new and a lot of people I think were quite suspicious of it.
But there were those who understood and those who heard.
It just astonishes me how many people still are finding in Glenn Gould
something that means something very specific and very personal to them.
People who weren’t ever born when Glenn died.
We took to each other immediately.
By the end of our first phone conversation,
which was a rather epic phone conversation,
we were already on the way to building a friendship.
He’d usually call around eleven o’clock at night.
And you had the sense that this was a rather lonely man
and somebody who really, really wanted to connect to the world.
Glenn was in sort of an ecstatic transport.
I mean this is somebody who is just absolutely in a state of his own,
deeply, deeply emotionally involved.
Glenn and I started talking about the new recording
of the Goldberg Variations and I had listened to it
and I just flipped out. I thought it was wonderful.
From the very beginning I thought that it improved
upon the 1955 performance, that it was much deeper,
much more thoughtful. It was really a sense of a summing up
and I felt that actually listening to it before I knew
that Glenn Gould was going to die the week that it was released,
which may it very eerie, since he started his career
with the Goldberg Variations, then in the same way
that the Goldberg Variations comes back to the theme to complete,
Glenn went back and re-recorded the Goldberg Variations.
I actually only met him in person about a month or so before he died.
Here he was, this man in this heavy coat in August, no laces in his shoes
and he looked as though he wore his clothes for a month at a time.
I remember walking through the halls of The Inn on the Park
and some little boy looked at him and started to walk over to him
and his horrified mother grabbed him and pulled him back.
I’m sure that child never knew, and certainly his mother never knew,
that they’d just had an encounter with one of the greatest musical geniuses
of the Twentieth Century.