[f_minor] How I First Heard Glenn Gould. What About You ? List Revival

Pat pzumst at bluewin.ch
Wed Oct 24 14:42:00 MDT 2012

Dear all

I have often wondered how most of the people who got to hear GG ever got into him. GG has enriched the lives of so many people from all walks of life from musicians to desillusioned punk rockers, old hippies, doctors, architects, artists, teachers and whatnot that these anecdotes (anthropologists call that oral histoy I think) of how you first heard GG are quite interesting. At least for me it was a complete watershed, a Before and After moment, because after that experience nothing would be the same in my musical world.

So here is the story of how I got into GG.
It was December of 1995 and I was bored to death wit rock and roll music. I grew up with The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, fast and loud hardcore punk rock like Minor Threat, Black Flag or Dead Kennedys. Classical music was like broccoli. Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe a little, but on the side. Quattro Stagioni was summet you had at a pizzeria, not in your CD player.

Back then Grunge (doh) and Rap music was at its peak and I felt rock music had sold out.  What did it for me was when H&M started selling Ramones t-shirts. I wanted to get out of Corporate Rock and Roll Hell.

So I talked to a meta of mine and he suggested I try this fellow called Glenn Gould playing Bach. I had heard both names before, so I walked into a tiny little record store with the classical department in the basement and bought the 1955 GBs which had apparently just come out on Sony. Did I say Corporate Hell ? Hm.

What I can remember next is that I went to a pre-christmas party, got mildly drunk lie everybody else there and woke up the next day with a relative hangover on a Saturday december morning.

In my hangover state I decided to check out that CD I had bought and put it on. That was Before. 

This is After.

You know that there are moments in life where you just can say that this is a perfect one ? One you will never forget ? When something happens that will put your complete mindset upside down ? When you for example hear music where you have to say that this will probably stay with you for all your living days ? 

Well, that was one of these.
They are rare, but they do happen. Otherwise you would not be reading this post because I bet you had a similar moment GGwise.

On the same day I found out that GG was dead. This irritated me to no end, my mate had not told me that. But thanks to GG  I started to explore classical music from Bach to Stockhausen, Hildegard von Bingen to Phil Glass (knock, knock, who is there, Bob Merkin has another PG joke if you ask nicely), Jazz and experinental electronic music up from Germany. And even Wagner (shudder). GG opened my eyes for being open-minded when it comes to music. There is a saying here in Switzerland that a farmer will only eat what he knows (der Bauer frisst was er kennt) and GG helped me to look over the fence. 

Glenn Gould has enriched my musical life to no end. Open your eyes and ears and good things might happen. Be tolerant. Sometimes music will find you, not the other way around. It is not about classical music, it just is music, no matter what kind.

 Yet I must stress the point that we should NOT make an idol of him. He was a great musician, but that does not mean we have to put him on a pedestal and worship to The Mighty St. Glenn Of Uptergrove, blessed be his humming, honored be his chair. I hope you will pardon my french here but GG was a bloody great muso, no more, no less. Period.

If you have an interesting story to tell how you first heard GG then please do so. Unique moments like these define us as intellectual individuals. I for one find them most fascinating. I do know that there are people on this list who have seen GG perform live or have seen him walking the streets of YYZ so if you got some oral history or a fun story of how you first heard of GG then spill the beans, rock out and let it go.

Plus I reckon f_minor needs some action so go ahead, tell me and you and the rest of us a story.

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