Archive find: Glenn Gould conducts Schubert

Archive find: Glenn Gould conducts Schubert


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2021

Our friend Daniel Poulin has made another discovery.

Franz Schubert’s Tragic Symphony was the main work on a CBC Radio Concert with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra in late 1957. It was to be the only complete orchestra concert conducted by Glenn Gould who was already planning a second career as a conductor. He was also making plans to conduct after that (Toronto, Vancouver, St.Louis) but these projects never came to fruition. With his usual sense of humour he wrote: “My retirement after a successful career of one concert which was at once my debut and my farewell appearance will, I am sure, be an irreparable loss in the music world. The one logical alternative is to retire from the piano and devote myself to conducting, which I am seriously considering.” Schubert’s Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D 417, called by its composer the Tragic (German: Tragische), was completed in April 1816, a year after his Third Symphony, when he was 19 years old. However, it was not premiered until November 19, 1849, in Leipzig, more than two decades after Schubert’s death. Schubert added the title Tragic to his autograph manuscript some time after the work was completed. It is not known why. I. Adagio molto – Allegro vivace 9’10” II. Andante 9’48” III. Menuetto Allegro vivace – Trio 4’43” IV. Allegro 8’49”



  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Someone at this website has evidently decided that GG is good for it. A story nearly every day!

  • Jeremy Wardle says:

    When Perlman recording the part of baritone jailer in Tosca (with Levine), he similarly called it his “farewell debut”

  • Daniel Poulin says:

    Correction: duration of final movement ‘Allegro’: 7’13”.