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CD Tip: Glenn Gould
Bach: Goldberg Variations 1955-Zenph

Glenn Gould, April 1974
Library and Archives Canada/Glenn Gould fonds/MUS 109-760
© Sony Classical.
Photo: Don Hunstein.
Reproduced with the permission of Don Hunstein, Sony Music Entertainment Inc., the Estate of Glenn Gould and Glenn Gould Limited


Staff Report

GATINEAU, QUEBEC, 15 MAY 2007—Glenn Gould was one of the most celebrated Canadians of his generation, a classical pianist renowned internationally for his musical genius and his unconventional style. This year, on the 75th anniversary of his birth, Gould’s story will be told in a major exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in partnership with Library and Archives Canada.

The exhibition will open at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Ottawa-Gatineau, on 28 September 2007, the week of Gould’s birthday. It remains on view until to10  August 2008. Entitled Glenn Gould: The Sounds of Genius, the multimedia exhibition will feature sound recordings, taped interviews and videos, as well as an array of artifacts, including Gould’s Steinway piano and the specially modified folding chair on which he sat while playing. The exhibition also brings together, for the first time, a large collection of Gould’s letters, manuscripts, publicity posters and personal items on loan from Library and Archives Canada.

"The primary purpose of the exhibition is to remind Canadians of the many facets of Gould’s musical genius," said curator Sam Cronk. " in a statement to the press.  "But we also examine his trail-blazing work in studio production, and in radio and television programming. He was a multimedia artist decades before that term came into vogue."

From 28 - 30 September 2007, in conjunction with the exhibition’s opening, the Glenn Gould Foundation is organizing a major conference at the Museum. Glenn Gould and the Future of Music will bring together scholars, leaders in the arts, cultural studies and business fields, and musicians to discuss Gould’s visionary ideas and their relevance in today’s digital musical world.

Glenn Gould was born in Toronto in 1932. His musical gifts were apparent very early in life. As a three-year-old, he could read music; at five, he was composing and performing for family and friends; at 15, he had his professional debut as a concert pianist, playing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

In 1955, the 23-year-old made his first recording of his signature piece: Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The recording earned him international acclaim and made the young man a full-blown celebrity. He toured Europe, the United States , Israel and the former USSR .

But just nine years after his vault into stardom, Gould made his final, controversial exit from the concert stage. Performing for a live audience had become unbearable for him — physically, emotionally, and artistically. Gould then turned his attention to the production of radio and television documentaries and, later, to conducting.

Glenn Gould died from a stroke in 1982, just days after his fiftieth birthday. Today, he remains Canada ’s most acclaimed classical pianist and one of the last century’s most unusual musicians.

Glenn Gould: The Sounds of Genius
28 September 2007 - 10 August 2008
Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec
Tel: (1) 819 776 70 00


J. S Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 
Glenn Gould, piano (1955)

Zenph (Hybrid SACD) CD
Sony Classical: 88697-03350-2
$18.98 US 

Available in stores and online throughout Canada and the United States on 29 May 2007, Zenph Studio’s re-performance of pianist Glenn Gould’s renowned 1955 rendition of the Bach Goldberg Variations offers the listener state-of-the-art sound on a new Sony BMG Masterworks hybrid multichannel SACD/CD disc, which includes versions tailored for surround sound and headphone listening. More significantly, Zenph Studio’s computer-controlled sleight-of-hand replicates Gould's touch, timing and sound. For some fans of the Canadian pianist, the aural experience is that of a live performance rather than a recorded one. For skeptics, it is a piano roll on steroids. That said, Gould was fascinated by the technical and aesthetic possiblities of studio recording and would, no doubt, be intrigued by this latest software development. 

Related CK Archives 

101 Best Classical CDs:
Haydn: Six Last Piano Sonatas; Glenn Gould, piano

Les 101 meilleurs disques classiques
Haydn: Les 6 dernières sonates pour piano; Glenn Gould, piano

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