Happy Birthday 2 and oh my!

I seem to be running one day behind on things, most especially on birthdays. It was Glenn Gould’s birthday yesterday, September 25. *Sigh*

  • Born: September 25, 1932, Toronto
  • Died: October 4, 1982, Toronto

He’s an all-time favorite, the best of pianists, and an all-around honorable fellow. He predicted his own death at 50 years of age, saying he would die then and of a stroke. In later years he became obsessed with checking his blood pressure. The question then becomes, did he indeed know it in advance, or did he direct it by obsessing over it? Truth is such a tricky thing at times.

Photo at top is from the Boston Globe and the one on the bottom from the NY Times.

When you watch a video you can clearly see how he uses his left hand to direct his right hand, especially when playing Bach.


Consider those most difficult: piano pieces, orchestra pieces, double bass, all of them, yes? I wonder if it was intentional by the composer—to make something so difficult that very few musicians even attempt the piece, score, or presentation. I don’t know how some composers had the required stamina to actually write the piece. Take for example, The Mysterium, scheduled for the end of the world. Seriously. That is when it is to be played. And everyone who attends will have a part to play—there will be no observers. I don’t know when the rehearsals are to be held. Obviously I will not be there. I cannot get through the entirety of the piece as a listen. I get it, I really do, it’s just not for me.

La Campanella is at least welcomed by most everyone. And it is as equally enjoyed and played. Playing it however, is indeed a bit of a challenge.

There was a reason Bottesini was known as the Paganini of the double bass. For extra difficulty points, be true to the period and play it on three strings. Personally I’m delighted that I don’t play the bass and have nothing to be challenged by. And it is lovely. Enjoy.

Last for this go ’round, we simply must play some Bach—J.S. Bach – Chaconne in D—The absolute daddy of violin showpieces. SO exposed.

This entire set, plus a few more (later), was presented by Classic FM.