Glenn Gould

Several years ago, on a business trip to Accra, Ghana, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel and a man came in, sat down at the baby grand in the hotel bar, and began playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. What a sublime work and even more so to hear it in such an environment. After he finished, he told me he was practicing for a recital at the US embassy by a soprano, for whom he was the accompanist. How blessed I felt that day, and I’m not a particularly religious person, but that was definitely spiritual event.

Piano, Yeah!


Glenn Gould’s interpretation of Bach is so definitively his own.  One of the things I love so much about Bach is the distinct absence of phrase-markings, dynamics, and tempos.  It fits in with the idea of Bach The Improvisor.

Bach gives us the important information (what notes to play, and for how long to play them) and the rest is up to the performer.  Each time you play, it is an act of improvisation.

The line between “classical” and “jazz” is only there because there are those who would profit from their segregation.

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About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

2 Responses to Glenn Gould

  1. Every tuesday, at an unsuspecting wine bar in Livermore, CA, I spend a good hour warming up with Bach chorales, a selection from The Klavier, and some Schumann or Chopin before improvising ragtime for a couple hours.

    I don’t remember who said it, but “If you want to prevent music from being delegated to the museum, you must stop playing it in museums.”

    My favorite moments of Bach are the unsuspected ones. Thank you for sharing your story.


    • kurtnemes says:

      If I am every in Livermore, I will have to stop by on a Tuesday. What kind of response do you get? I’m trying to track down that quote. It’s a great one. Thanks for commenting. Best


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