Glenn Gould on the day that Stalin died

Glenn Gould on the day that Stalin died


norman lebrecht

March 05, 2021

March 5, 1953 was also the day Serge Prokofiev died.

Gould plays and talks Prokofiev in this rarely seen recording.


  • Gerry says:

    Wonderful, thanks for posting this – I had never seen this.

    • Rogerio says:

      Goulds’ superior intelligence is so overpowering it induces a sort of intellectual barf reflex.
      The harder you try to assimilate, the faster your mind just hurls it up.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Attentive, imaginative performances and informative comments. Is the singer anywhere identified? If so I missed it. Gould recorded these three Strauss “Ophelia” songs with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the subject of another recent post. Gould calls them schizophrenic. Ophelia is, or becomes, the one unarguably mad person in “Hamlet”.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Thank you for this posting, Norman – that’s superb Prokofiev playing – and singing.
    Did I blink my eyes or sneeze at the wrong time, or was the name of the soprano never announced?
    Bravo Gould! Bravo soprano incognito!

    • Daniel Poulin says:

      Gould is supported by the Canadian soprano Roxolana Roslak (Ukrainian origin) whom he considered one of the most gifted vocal artists of their generation. They developed a close friendship which shows in the intensity of their performance.

    • Marc says:

      Gould does introduce her, in his quick mumbling way. She is the Canadian soprano Roxolana Roslak.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    According to Volkov’s book on Shostakovich, “Testimony”, D.S. said that everybody went to Stalin’s funeral and no one dared go to Prokofiev’s instead.

  • He had an extraordinary ability to intellectualize about music.

  • buxtehude says:

    An electrifying inside account of this day is to be found in “Stormy Applause — Making Music in a Worker’s State” by Rostislav Dubinsky, NY 1989

    Dubinsky was founder and 1st violinist of the Borodin Quartet, which was commandeered into providing the music, first at Prokofiev’s then at Stalin’s laying-in-state March 6-8 1953.

    An indispensable book for anyone interested in Russian performance during the 1950s & 60s.