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
GLENN GOULD AT THE ORGAN © CBC

ORGAN

“Gould’s approach seems downright unmusical, and the image it evokes for me is of the trained seal who beeps out God Save the Queen on a set of car horns.” This annihilating critique of the first nine Contrapuncti from The Art of Fugue was penned by Gould’s college friend John Beckwith and is probably one of the main reasons why Gould left only a single organ recording and never returned to The Art of Fugue or tackled the complete organ sonatas of Mendelssohn, with which he had originally planned to “shock” the whole world of music. On the other hand, he was convinced that his organ lessons in his youth had left a lasting mark on his piano playing, even if his organ playing, with its typical use of non-legato and avoidance of any registrations, flew in the face of the organ’s basic character.