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 Bratu.
"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
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
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"
(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
"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").