A canadian boy inflicts a blow to the heart of the world-renowned pianistic institution, the Moscow "Tchaikovsky" Conservatory
A twenty-four years old canadian boy, coming therefore from an outlying musical culture, inflicts a blow at the very heart of the world-renowned pianistic institution, the Moscow "Tchaikovsky" Conservatory, cradle of a pianistic school and a tradition that churns out on repeat worldwide famous virtuoso concert pianists.
It's the year 1957, Glenn Gould (Toronto, 25 September 1932 – 4 October 1982), who is a boy with great hopes with an astonishing recording of the Goldberg variations under his belt (1955), is invited to hold some concerts and lecture-concerts at Moscow and St Petersburg Conservatory.
On May 12 he holds a lecture-concert for students and teachers at the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory that made epoch.
He presented and performed a program (Berg Sonata Op.1, Webern Variations Op. 27, Krenek Sonata n. 3, Bach Art of Fugue nn. 1,4,2, Bach Goldberg Variations nn. 3, 18, 9, 24, 10, 30) that combined composers of the New Vienna School, composers that were unknown to the listeners as at that time they were not pleasing the soviet nomenklatura, to Bach's contrapuntal vocabulary, with pieces therefore that were not considered suitable to public recitals.
Glenn Gould himself remembered how that lecture-concert began with a limited presence of public and then ended with the hall full of people rushed in through the word-of-mouth of a memorable event: the discovery of a different way of playing the piano.
The sounds that Glenn Gould were able to create were coming from another world, they were artificial timbers, unprecedented and outrageous.
Listen to Contrapunctus 1 where the control of the sounds is such that the percussion of the hammers to the strings is totally inaudible!
Listen to the extreme transparency of the contrapuntal texture where the voices are all perfectly audible at the same time!
The pianist admitted that the attendance of the organ greatly influenced his Bach performing style: "...not only to my taste, but also to the physical components that play a role in my playing", "...the fingertips act to produce something that sounds like the marvelously blown and breathy sounds of ancient organs".
He was a Martian, and he was a genius!
Glenn Gould plays Bach Art of Fugue (Contrapunctus 1,4,2)