Dr. Damjana Bratuz
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Glenn Gould in Italy: CONCERT REVIEWS

To complement the review cited at the beginning of the article, we offer here some excerpts from other reviews of Gould's concerts in Florence and Rome. [The reviews of Gould in Florence were retrieved and supplied by eminent Italian critic and professor, Leonardo Pinzauti.] The reviews of Gould in Rome were kindly supplied by Paola Fontecedro and Antonio di Bartolo of the Press Office of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. All translations are by Damjana Bratuž.

"Glenn Gould At The Pergola"
by Luciano Alberti
(Il Mattino [Florence], 17 November 1958)

There was something sensational about Glenn Gould's recital Saturday night at the Amici della musica…
First of all, his programme revealed intelligence, taste, culture: we had noticed how it stood apart from the noble conformism that more or less pervades the concert calendar of the Amici. …
From the first notes of Sweelinck we were struck by the very distinctive intimacy of his touch, open to a horizon of airy musicality, especially astonishing given the pianist's youth.
Then, some singular attitudes-the very low chair, the unrestrained pitching and rolling of the torso, the legs making a kind of "entrechat " [leap] in the play of the pedals, to the point of being crossed when the pedals were not needed-superimposed themselves, like a reporter's notes, on the strictly musical impressions, like signposts of a "pose" that made one think of Glenn Gould as a sort of James Dean of the keyboard-but unjustly.
From such jerkiness of gesture, the music, miraculously, never emerged deformed, or angular, or neurotic: always very gentle, to an extreme but perfectly coherent degree, as in Mozart, and also vigorous, always of purest clarity and warmth.

Untitled Review
by Adelmo Damerini
(La Nazione [Florence], 17 November 1958)

… In this Fantasia [by Sweelinck], executed with extreme neatness, the young pianist Gould (twenty-six years old) impressed us immediately with a musical hypersensitivity so morbid that it compels him toward physical behavior-circular motions of the body, stomping of the feet, even crossing of the legs-that makes one dizzy to look at. Yet, the precision and variety of his touch, [and] the proper phrasing were undeniable gifts that he put to the service of the work at hand.
… In Mozart's K. 330 Sonata, written in Paris and intended for pianists of modest level, Glenn Gould narrated with delicate simplicity, but, given his unrestrained physical vibrations and his disorderly movements, something morbid spread over the very candour of the sonata.
Gould gave the best proof of elevated accomplishment---despite his unbalanced physicality, which reaches as far as the hands, these alone obeying his alert brain-in Bach's Goldberg Variations. The clarity of counterpoint, the variety of aspects which that powerful work offers, were interpreted with intelligent regard for the text and with love, even pathological love, of the score. The audience, a little disoriented at first, realized it was in the presence of a youth with phenomenal sensitivity and extraordinary technical preparation…

"Takashi Asahina and the Pianist Gould"
by "Vice" [Mario Rinaldi]
(Il Messaggero [Rome], 20 November 1958)

… The American pianist-Canadian, to be precise-is quite young and obtained a diploma in his instrument when he was still a boy. Despite his youth, he enjoys a notable international career. He plays with finesse, with an often delicate touch, and favours deeply felt, markedly expressive phasing. Gould gets along with the audience, which in fact gave evidence of its appreciation-something worth keeping in mind, since communication, for a performer, is of primary importance. …

"Takashi Asahina-Glenn Gould at the Auditorio"
by L. P.
(Il Paese [Rome], 20 November 1958)

… Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 revealed to the Rome audience a pianist of rare, novel expressivity … Glenn Gould seems to surmount all difficulty as he sings the Mozartean writing of a young Beethoven. …

"Asahina-Gould at the Auditorio"
by Ennio Montanaro
(Il Popolo [Rome], 20 November 1958)

In Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 for piano and orchestra, the applause went to the soloist, Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. He is a youth who displayed a daring and instinctive technique of the highest quality; a precise and robust sonority; neat and secure phrasing; perfect equality of eloquence between the two hands; transparency and a felicitous fusion of timbres. In a word, an individual of uncommon gifts who will collect brilliant victories. We ought to speak of his encounter with Beethoven, too, and of the ensuing reactions. He is so young; he will give us his account of [Beethoven] in time, when he has matured through the necessary experience. …

"Takashi Asahina at the Auditorio"
by Guido Pannain
(Il Tempo [Rome], November 1958)

… The young pianist Glenn Gould offered a good student performance, playing scholastically the scholastic second (really first) piano concert of Beethoven. Gould is one of those performers who circle the globe not so much because of their merit as for the magic power of certain incentives rooted in the international organization of an agency driven by motives and interests of a not quite artistic nature. Gould was applauded, and in the encores he gave he openly demonstrated that he could not distinguish between a concert hall and a Conservatory classroom. …

"Asahina-Gould at the Auditorio"
by Erasmo Valente
(L'Unità [Rome], 20 November 1958)

An interesting concert yesterday at the Auditorio … Glenn Gould, tall, gangly, eschewing "romantic" poses, went as far as playing with his lags crossed and making do with a very low chair. Crouched in an uncomfortable position, he thrusts his hands onto the keyboard making them dart up from below. It is his own way of playing, but the results are excellent: a chastity of sound that is truly exemplary. Much applauded, he gave two encores. …

"Asahina-Gould at Santa Cecilia"
by "Vice"
(Giornale d'Italia [Rome], 21 November 1958)

… Gould, who indulges in a certain kind of "star" behaviour, captured the attention of the audience as soon as he put his hands to the keyboard: he held the audience suspended by the refined touch of his fingers, creating emotional moments especially in the second and third movements: it was beautiful to see the orchestra accompany the soloist with the greatest attention, following him, conversing with him in pianissimi played (as they say) with a single bowhair. Gould deserved all this attention, and the applause compelled him to grant two encores (two of Bach's Goldberg Variations), in which, curiously, he brought to mind Dinu Lipatti.

"Takashi Asahina, Glenn Gould"
by "N. P."
(Momento Sera [Rome], 21 November 1958)

… His brilliant touch attains moments of luminous sonority well adapted to those episodes in which rhythmic design predominates. We therefore preferred and appreciated him [most] in the first and third movements of Beethoven's score. …

"Asahina-Gould at the Auditorium Dei Borghi"
by Piero Dalla Mano
(Paese-Sera [Rome], 21 November 1958)

Tall, gangly, blondish, like those awkward boys who people American movies, pianist Glenn Gould sits very, very low at the piano, a piano under which, one notes, suitable wooden blocks have been placed in order to bring the keyboard to chin level. And thus settled, while the orchestra introduces Beethoven's admirable Concerto No. 2, an enormous tiredness seems to descend onto Gould's shoulders. They curve into the shape of a question mark. Meanwhile, the pianist crosses his legs, to put himself even further at ease, but does not know where to put his feet. You wait for him, at any moment, to put his feet on the keyboard, as on a table, something that is the supreme ideal, apparently, in American detective stories.
But let him play: one wants to yell at him, "Come on, Gould, go at them! You play like a God. You have them all in your pocket!" And in truth Glenn Gould, pianist, born in Toronto in 1932, has the touch of an angel, a touch made of air and sky, limpid, childlike, silvery. His attacks are a marvel of frankness, of opportunity. He does have a tendency to rush at times. But he sings, sings with a disarming intimacy and candour (to say nothing of the emphasis his fingers gave to the splendid Adagio of Beethoven's concerto, a concerto in which the early Beethoven seems to mock the old critical clichés that would dismiss this first, youthful period by calling it "Mozartean"). …


  Damjana Bratu TOP

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