Glenn Gould hires a conductor – and rehearses himself

The last of Daniel Poulin’s fascinating contributions for 2021.

More, we hope, next year.

Daniel writes:

In great secrecy Gould and the Hamilton Philarmonic met to run through Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. A young Juillard student, Jon Klibonoff was hired by Gould to stand for himself. Gould took a slow tempo for the first movement and even a much slower one for the second movement, always a favourite of his “the magnificent, glowing Adagio” he would often say. He told the orchestra he wanted… “to treat it almost like a Wesleyan hymn” and to conduct it not with three slow beats to the bar, but with twelve moderate beats. The experience was not successful; Gould lacked the technique to convey his idiosyncratic intentions clearly and to maintain ensemble and continuity. Finally, Gould was not happy with the session.

 

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