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Classical 101

The Anniversary of Glenn Gould's Retirement

This morning, our programming director sent me such a welcome surprise. In honor of the anniversary of Glenn Gould's retirement from public performances, the BBC show Witness released a podcast interview with one of the pianist's closest friends, John Roberts.

I encourage you to listen, to reminisce, and to enjoy what this fabulous man brought to the keyboard. Do be sure to have tissues at the ready. 

Gould is one of my heroes. He was young, eccentric, talented, quite introverted, and yet personal accounts from his friends depict someone I find to be so relatable and kind.

He retired from live performance at the ripe old age of 31 on April 10, 1964.

When I was young, my lovely piano teacher Mrs. Heath did everything she could to encourage me to explore the counterpoint of piano with the same tenacity that I brought to my voice lessons and performances. I found myself often singing along with the simple Bach preludes I was studying in an attempt to  memorize and understand the progression of arpeggiated chords. I like to think it helped.

At some point, my mom encouraged me to listen to this odd man who had died in the 1980s, and along with an admiration of his talent, I felt a sort of kinship with his oddness. He made it okay to be an awkward performer, and his peculiarities did not affect the importance of his work.

Now my husband and I listen to Gould's Goldberg Variations every chance we get, usually at the breakfast table or the park, and each time I reconnect with how dear music can truly be.