Glenn Gould: Look, no score

Glenn Gould: Look, no score


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2021

‘You know what an incurable romantic I am,’ Gould would tell friends. When he performed the Brahms Quintet the other musicians begged him to use a score, if only for appearance’s sake. He did put a score on the piano and turned a page from time to time, without regard for where he actually was in the music. This concert was on August 20/1957 with the Montreal String Quartet.

Hyman Bress and Mildred Goodman, violins
Otto Joachim, viola
Walter Joachim, cello

Be amazed.



  • Bone says:

    My goodness, his articulation is flawless. Hard to imagine a finer performance.

  • CRWang says:

    Lang Lang: Look at me. Look at me.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    A splendid opportunity to remember the co-founders of the Montreal String Quartet, Otto and Walter Joachim, and to celebrate their remarkable lives.

    The photographs in this latter document are worth perusing. Among the most striking is the one on p. 26 : let’s bear in mind that it depicts the founder and first director of the Montreal Consort of Ancient Instruments. An amazing gamut of interests.

  • Kenny says:

    Several string quartets (Kolisch, Zehetmair)
    have been known to perform – – not rehearse – – without music, while the LaSalle played from scores, not parts. Different strokes… A non-issue. Richter with music any day rather than Ivo. Kna vs. HvK in Bayreuth. Toscanini. Etc. Rostropovich and Bolcom accompanying their wives unencumbered by paper.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Hyman Bress was an exceptional violinist. His recordings, once reasonably plentiful on LP, are now hard to find.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    There’s that film of him playing sonatas with Menuhin and neither of them have the notes in front of them. YM also had a prodigious memory.

    BTW: looking forward Humphrey Burton’s autobiog coming out in May. It promises to talk of his experiences with Gould, Menuhin and Lenny.

  • e says:

    Such a passionate piece of music….
    Thanks, NL.

  • Frankster says:

    Thanks for this! Remarkable.

  • Hilary says:

    In the Rhapsody in Gminor there’s an obsessive triplet motif between the 5th and 6th degrees of the scale ( from 5:41) :

    This finds and echo in the Piano Quintet ( from 7minute mark)

  • Fred Wanger says:

    The unique and always enthralling music making of GG again on display. No music watch the Schönberg Fantasy with Menuhin. Would be interesting to know whose idea it was for the Schumann and Brahms chamber music recordings-we are the beneficiaries.