77 • Can we admire some of Glenn Gould’s opinions but not share them?

Most of us would not dress in hat, scarf, overcoat, and gloves on the Hawaiian beach, nor pop a fistful of drugs daily just for good measure. Most of us prefer a life with moderate rather then excessive hypochondria and enjoy the warmth of our sun on our skin. Not Glenn Herbert Gould. Therefore we should probably approach Gould's expressed opinions that the public performance is a degrading and vile experience, that Mozart died too late rather than too young, that the Allegro assai of op. 57 should be played andante lugubrioso, with a glimpse of understanding but not necessarily with concord.

Great men have great quirks. The prophetic genius of Gould, his iridescent musical heroism, his category shattering artistry is an expression of his entire life. I personally wouldn't want to miss any of it and prefer to behold his idiosyncrasies and cherish even his more outlandish interpretations ("Glenn sometimes had ... questionable ... judgment", as Leon Fleisher puts it) before most of the stylistically and politically correct approaches to music of mere mortals.

"Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of a bag of nails, with here and there also a dropped hammer."
Glenn Gould (1932 – 1982)

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