Glenn Gould at Work

Andrew Kazdin, Author
Andrew Kazdin, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-525-24817-0
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Writing with a mixture of awe and exasperation, Kazdin, Gould's longtime producer at Columbia Records, paints a portrait that readers of Otto Friedrich's recent Glenn Gould will find familiar. The eccentric Canadian pianist (1932-1982) is shown as a hypochondriac, a substance abuser dependent on Valium, Nembutal, etc., a recluse who used and discarded people. He concocted a Machiavellian scheme whereby he would announce his retirement, then stockpile tapes of secret performances while his records soared in value. Kazdin speculates that the pianist may have had a romantic relationship with Cornelia Foss, wife of composer Lucas Foss, but concludes that ``the piano was his mistress.'' There is much about Gould's bizarre idiosyncrasies as well as details of recording sessions and appreciations of his unconventional playing, plus a discography of his recordings for Columbia. (Dec.)
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