[f_minor] CD318 and the Chickering

Kevin Bazzana kevinbazzana at shaw.ca
Sun Jan 19 12:21:36 MST 2014

It is disappointing to hear that the Chickering is still being referred to
as Gould’s “childhood piano”; this misunderstanding was cleared up long ago.
He actually acquired it only in his early twenties. It was being rented by a
lady friend of his (actually, a lady more-than-friend, to be completely
frank: it was Fran Barrault, who was interviewed as an old woman for the
“Genius Within” documentary; she’s the one smoking). Gould loved the piano,
and even practised on it in preparation for his 1955 New York début. He
liked it so much that he insisted on having it and took over the rental of
it, and installed it at his family’s cottage. Eventually he purchased it
outright. A letter and purchase order dated November 5, 1957, from the Paul
Hahn & Co. piano firm in Toronto, show that he had been renting the
Chickering at the cottage for some time and had chosen to buy it, for $555.

         Incidentally, an actual Gould “childhood piano” came to light in
2005, in the CBC’s TV show “Canadian Antiques Roadshow.” It was a Mason &
Risch baby grand now owned by a man in Calgary, whose grandparents had been
friends of the Goulds. Glenn was always needing new pianos, so his father
was always getting rid of old ones, and one of these rejects was purchased
by the Calgary man’s grandparents, around the mid- to late 1940s. Appraisers
have suggested that the piano could be worth a fortune, given its
provenance. Actually, this piano can be seen in some early photos of Gould,
including this famous one:




There was a short article on this whole matter in the Glenn Gould
Foundation’s magazine, back in Spring 2005 (Vol. 11/1), p. 37. I assume this
piano remains in the Calgary man’s possession, I don’t know. (He wants to
remain anonymous.) I know of no other genuine Gould childhood piano still in

         Kevin Bazzana

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