It's hard to overstate the importance of Canadian pianist Glen Gould, who is most noted for performing J.S. Bach's keyboard works with unmatched technical and artistic facility, as a modern ambassador of Baroque music. Gould was born in Toronto in 1932 and studied with his mother until he was 10, when he was accepted as a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music. There he took lessons under Alberto Guerrero and Frederick C. Silvester. In 1945 he gave his first recital, and he performed Beethoven's 4th piano concerto that year with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Though his stage career was fairly short -- he gave up public performance in 1964 -- he was the first North American pianist to play in Russia after World War II and gave a number of great performances on the CBC. Between 1964 and '82, Gould made scores of recordings; he taped definitive interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, but he is perhaps best known for performing complex contrapuntal passages of Bach with remarkable clarity. His life has been the subject of exhaustive study, as has his eccentric personality, which included an aversion to handshakes and regular trips to a diner for scrambled eggs at 2 A.M.
Glenn Gould Concert Films
The Russian Journey
Runtime: 56 minThe date is May 2nd, 1957. Stalin died only four years before and perestroika is still a long way off. However, the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who is just 24, arrives in Moscow for an exceptional tour: he is the first North American musician to play behind the iron curtain. This is the story that Glenn Gould in Russia tells by revealing documents from the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that had remained classified for years. Witness accounts from musicians such as Ashkenazy and Rostropovitch, parts of the original recordings of Gould’s concerts in Moscow and Leningrad, as well as a recording that had never been released before of his lecture-recital in Leningrad make this an invaluable documentary revealing an aspect of Glenn Gould’s artistry that few people are aware of.
Glenn Gould Top Tracks
Piano Perfection in 3D
Runtime: 31 minLang Lang at Berghain – Piano in perfection in the third dimension! Legendary pianist Lang Lang performs Beethoven, Chopin, Albéniz and Prokofiev in his very unique way. In personal interviews he explains his access to the new technology anf their connection to classical music.
Original and extraordinary – these words describe both the artist and the setting of the shooting: the Berghain in Berlin, one of the most famous clubs all over the world.
Live in Warsaw
Runtime: 1 hr 29 minCritics put him on a par with Brendel, Gould or Rubinstein. As a young musician he partnered living legends like Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals and Benjamin Britten. Vladimir Horowitz was a teacher and a friend. Today Murray Perahia is a legend in his own right. He numbers among the most sought-after pianists of our time, both on the concert platform and in the recording studio. And all this despite the fact that his career has been repeatedly interrupted by the after-effects of an injury to his right hand. This film gives viewers a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes and observe a world-class pianist at work.
The camera observes him as he works slowly and thoroughly on some of Chopin’s mazurkas, his E major scherzo and Schumann’s ‘Kinderszenen’ (‘Scenes from Childhood’). The settings include his summer retreat in Switzerland, his terraced house in the West End of London and a private concert for friends.
Perahia spends weeks and months exploring the ways in which the various parts of a given work combine to form a whole. Like a skilled psychoanalyst, he uncovers one layer of meaning after another in his single-minded endeavour to fathom the importance of each individual note for the ultimate realisation of a musical masterpiece. ‘As soon as I start working on something, it is with me all the time. I live with the piece – no matter whether I am eating, sleeping, reading a book or talking to my wife – it becomes a part of me.’
Finally, the long-awaited concert in Warsaw. Murray Perahia sits down at the piano and begins to
play. The performance transcends all the theory and analysis that have gone into its preparation. The playing itself is the expression of the pianist’s profound insights, resulting in a truly miraculous rendering. After the concert, members of the audience describe it as ‘out of this world. ’
A Tango Night - Live from Buenos Aires
Runtime: 1 hr 36 minOn December 31, 2006, Daniel Barenboim came to celebrate the New Year in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires in the country where he was born and where he lived for the first nine years of his life. For the pianist and conductor the tango comes naturally and it was with passion that he conducted a huge concert that evening dedicated to this genre across between dance and song. Created and developed in the poor neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires from 1870, the tango very soon became a part of Argentina’s national heritage.
St. Matthew's Passion
Johann Sebastian Bach
Runtime: 1 hr 33 minJohann Sebastian Bach composed the St. John Passion in Cöthen during the winter of 1722/23. The text is drawn from chapters 18 and 19 of the Gospel according to St. John, and includes some excerpts from St. Mathew and additional text from a Passion poem by the Hamburg town councillor Barthold Heinrich Brockes. The composer led the first performance at the Good Friday services on 7 April 1724 at St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, where he had since become municipal music director and cantor of the Thomasschule. This Passion is heard less often today than the St. Matthew Passion, perhaps because the St. John Passion is in some ways more raw and evokes the anguish of the Passion more painfully than the St. Matthew work. A musician’s musician, an occasional firebrand and a constant paradox – Nikolaus Harnoncourt (born in 1929) is one of the most profound and intriguing conductors of our time. Considered one of the world’s leading specialists of Baroque music, he has long since turned his attention to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and even to Jacques Offenbach and Johann Strauss. He spent many years as a cellist with the Wiener Symphoniker before founding the "Concentus Musicus Wien" with his wife Alice in 1953. It soon became one of the world’s most respected ensembles specializing in the performance of early music on original instruments. In the 1970s, Harnoncourt joined forces with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle to stage a series of Monteverdi operas at the Zurich Opera House. This universally acclaimed cycle contributed to a renaissance of Monteverdi’s music and set standards for early Baroque performance practice. He later began to turn his attention more and more to the music of Mozart, whom he considers "the most romantic of all composers". Harnoncourt did not make his official debut at the Salzburg Festival until 1992. He has been conducting there regularly since then and is a sought-after guest conductor of such reputable ensembles as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live
Yo Yo Ma
Runtime: 56 minThe Goat Rodeo Sessions Live brings cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile together for a one-night only concert filmed at the House Of Blues in Boston, MA.