GLENN GOULD FROM A TO Z (BY MICHAEL STEGEMANN)

A
© CBC / GOULD AS THEODORE SLUTZ, KARLHEINZ KLOPWEISSER, SIR NIGEL TWITT-THORNWAITE …

ALIAS

A New York taxi driver by the name of Theodore Slutz, a half-Italian, half-Canadian boxer called Dominico Pastrano, a German composer rejoicing in the name of Karlheinz Klopweisser, an English conductor named Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite, a Scottish sound engineer hight Duncan Haig-Guinness … In the course of his life, Glenn Gould hid behind some two dozen aliases – in make-up and costume before the camera, with a distinctive accent before the microphone and with a choice use of words on paper. The results are a gift to any psychoanalyst. Gould himself admitted that he was “incapable of writing in a sustained humorous style until I developed an ability to portray myself pseudonymously”. The first blow in this respect was struck by the conductor Dr Herbert von Hochmeister, who made his literary début in High Fidelity in 1965: once Gould had got inside the character, he “found it no problem at all to say what I wanted to say in a humorous style. Until then, there was a degree of inhibition that prevented me from doing so. But then the floodgates were open, and subsequently I developed a character for every season.”

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