Glenn Gould From A To Z (by Michael Stegemann)

A B C D E F G H I M N O P R S T
Don Hunstein / Apr 1958

ECCENTRICITY

Singing along with the music and, of course, the stool. And his clothes: even in the hottest weather, Gould would swathe himself in winter clothes. When swimming he wore elbow-length rubber gloves. Before any studio recording he would soak his arms in hot water for twenty minutes. At one of his solo recitals, “Mr. Gould strolled on stage, sat at the piano, crossed his legs during the opening tutti, gazed calmly upon audience and orchestra.” On another occasion he came out onstage with a bottle of mineral water and read a newspaper during the orchestral introduction. “What’s next? Can we look forward to Mr. Gould’s playing Beethoven next year with a seidel of beer and a ham sandwich to occupy himself during the orchestral tuttis?” There is no doubt that some of these eccentric scenes were consciously stage-managed for his audience’s benefit, but much of it was an integral part of his character. Whatever the cause, such antics soon became a feature of the legends that grew up around him. Even as early as 1956 the magazine Weekend published a photo essay by Jock Carroll under the significant title “‘I don’t think I’m at all eccentric,’ says Glenn Gould”.