Watch: Glenn Gould’s US TV debut

Watch: Glenn Gould’s US TV debut


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2019

Playing Bach with Lenny.


  • anon says:

    Poor Lenny, about the only man who can upstage him is Glenny.

    BTW, I’ve never understood why Gould is deified for his Bach, which to my obviously philistine ears sound mechanical, I mean, how did they do Bach before Glenn Gould?

    • Petros Linardos says:

      At best like this:

      Which was worthy of deification, to my ears.

      My take on Gould’s Bach: it depends on what recordings you have listened to. I really like his 1957 Goldberg variations, or the piano concertos, including the above clip. But am with you on some of his more mannered interpretations like that of the WTC.

    • steven holloway says:

      They did it better before and they’ve done it better since. Why he is deified for his Bach, or why people travel from Europe on pilgramages and stare at the hotel he lived in, I really don’t think can be said to be the superb quality of his Bach playing. It’s certainly different, but that’s about it for me.

    • aj says:

      You might want to listen to Landowska whose work
      leaves Gould in the dust .

    • Novagerio says:

      Anon: A good alternative was Rosalyn Tureck (1913-2003)

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I watched this before in its longer version. There is much to enjoy in Gould’s performance, but the orchestral contribution sounds so heavy and old fashioned now.

  • Fran says:

    Thank you for this

  • Nick says:


  • Dirk Herman says:

    This black& white footage is amazing good, for a TV recording from 1960!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Big, bold, un-HIP, unapologetic Bach. Love it.

    • aj says:

      Except that hearing big , bold unapologetic ain’t
      the sounds Bach heard .

      • M2N2K says:

        But they may be the sounds that he would have loved to hear.

        • aj says:

          M2N2K …Could very well be so ….but alas
          he wrote for the sounds and instruments he knew for his time-not ours.Would you like
          the Mona Lisa painted over in day glow paint
          to suit todays’ tastes ?

          • M2N2K says:

            Yes he did, but only because he never heard the sounds and instruments of our time and therefore did not have a choice. In music, we can value many different versions of musical text and decide what we prefer according to our taste. As for Mona Lisa or any other visual masterpiece, I would not make my judgement without seeing the result and comparing it to the original. In painting, if we can make a different version without destroying the original, nothing should stop us from trying. But if the only way to make an alternative is by destroying the original, then of course we should not touch it.

          • aj says:

            M2N2K ….your response if it has any standing at all is a specious argument at best . Typical of the musical pundits one
            finds here.

          • M2N2K says:

            You have not explained what specifically is wrong with my argument. Your latest response contains no counter-arguments at all. Labels and name-calling are no substitute for intelligent discussion.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        aj: “not the sounds Bach heard”

        Why should we care about what sounds Bach heard, or whether this is what he wrote for or intended? The only thing that really matters is us hearing it played now, and whether we enjoy what we are hearing.

        • M2N2K says:

          As performing musicians, we should care because this knowledge can guide us when we create our individual interpretations of “old” music in a way that speaks to us now.

  • Der wanderer says:

    Terrific sensitivity, a true artist.

  • Charles Timbrell says:

    What a great decrescendo near the beginning of this!

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Glenn Gould !!
    A wonderful artist. One of a kind.

  • A little bit quieter now… a little bit quieter now…

  • Go to 8:00 in the full performance. I think Glenn Gould stole this from Chico Marx…

  • morgan says:

    GG is on better form, LIVE in the same piece with Mitropulous and the Concertgebow. The collaboration with LB is very stiff in comparison. Likewise GG, was so much better LIVE in Mozart’s 13th Sonata. The CBS recording is excruciating.