Dr. Damjana Bratuz
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Glenn Gould -
Presence of Glenn Gould:
"The Italian Perspective

This article is a revised and expanded version of a lecture delivered in Toronto 27 September 1992, at the first Glenn Gould Conference titled Music and Communication in the 21st Century: Variations on Themes of Glenn Gould. The "Day's Theme" was Music in Society. In the "Speaker's Forum" Damjana Bratuz presented her Italian Variation on the day's theme. Two distinguished Italian scholars, Piero Rattalino and Vincenzo Perna, had been invited to participate in the Conference, but were unable to attend, and Prof. Bratuz took the opportunity to include in her presentation an introduction to their work.

   The Glen Gould Journal

Profile: Damjana Bratuz is Music Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. Her series of music programmes for children at Radio Trieste, in Italy, brought her a Fulbright award in 1958, which allowed her to study in the United States. In 1967, she received a doctorate in piano literature and performance at Indiana University, with a minor in radio and television. A renowned pedagogue, lecturer, and pianist, her concern for the careers of young Canadian musicians in the wider spectrum of community life has taken her as a speaker to major national and international conferences. In 1989, she returned to Italy, with an award from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for research in musical semiotics at the University of Bologna. Subsequently, she established graduate courses in 'interdisciplinary research with music' at the U.W.O. Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. In her research, Dr. Bratuz explores the areas of convergence between music and the arts. Since 1994, she has taught, lectured, and performed in France, Italy, Finland, and New Zealand, and was recently a guest lecturer at the Dipartimento di Nuove Pratiche Musicali of the Parma Conservatory. In the fall of 1998, she presented papers at conferences on musical semiotics in Toronto ("Invisible Connections, Audible Signs: The Harvard Lectures of Bartok (1943) and Calvino (1985)," and Aix-en-Provence ("On the Embodiment of Form: Polychronic Movement in Flaubert and Debussy").


Glenn Gould in Italy (1958)

On "Presence"

On "Perspective"

I         The Canadian connection (Bologna 1989-90)

II        1. "Glenn Gould in Insalata Capricciosa" (Rattalino, 1990)

2. "The Punishing of a Myth" (1990)

III       1. "Panorama" (1987)

          The grain of the touch (1992)

IV        The landscape of amnesia

 1. UWO (University of Western Ontario (1992)        


 2. UCF (Universit canadienne en France) (1994-95)


Glenn Gould in Italy

In November of 1958, Gould performed in Florence and in Rome, in what would be his only visit to Italy. [In the Fall 1999 issue of the Glenn Gould Magazine, Vol.5/2, an Italian "Friend of Glenn Gould" has provided new information revealing that Gould had given a recital at that time in Turin as well.] Two months earlier, I had left Italy for the United States as an exchange student. It was in St. Louis, Missouri, that I first had the opportunity to hear Gould's recordings (Bach and Beethoven), and that I was able to hear Gould in concert, in January of 1959, in Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto. It was "a Prinz concerto, not an emperor's," said Leo Sirota, the distinguished Russian-Viennese pianist and the professor with whom I was preparing my American master's degree. My response to Gould was akin to the one I had on first hearing the young Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, in Trieste, right after the war: it was a new reading of the "Emperor"; it seemed like a construction lifted out of a familiar score, a new organism with its own integrity. I heard Gould again, in November of the same year, in recital at Indiana University. Afterwards, I recalled especially the spell of his encore, the first sounds I ever heard of a heritage unknown to me: the English virginalists.

Three reviews of his recital at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, and nine(!) of the Second Concerto by Beethoven he performed at the Auditorium of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, came recently into my hands at the suggestion of Piero Rattalino, through the kindness of Maestro Leonardo Pinzauti of Florence, and of Signora Paola Fontecedro of the Santa Cecilia Press Office in Rome. Previously, only the Florence review signed "V.D" had been available among the Gould papers at the National Library of Canada, and it was Leonardo Pinzauti who revealed the initials to be those of Virgilio Doplicher, a distinguished musician who had played under Mahler, and was active in Florence as a promoter of new music. It is difficult to render into English some of the resonances contained in the original Italian terms of his review, but one can acknowledge the remarkable insight in the reviewer's perception of the "ec/static" dimension of those moments when the music takes a life of its own and seems to be slipping out of the pianist's hands...


Glenn Gould agli Amici della Musica

"To describe adequately the personality of pianist Glenn Gould one ought to use an instrumental language, such as the one he uses to establish a rapport with his audience. Indeed, the exceptional excellence of his musical nature refuses to be contained within the reviewer's usual routine. Exceptional in the truest sense of the word are the artistic gifts of this pianist, gifts which mark every fiber of his being. Exceptional are the musicianship, the technique, the variety and quality of the touch, of the movement, the characterization of the style and of the intimate significance of the works he interprets. It is difficult to imagine a music that is clearer, more limpid, more consistent with the inner process of its formation: clarity, limpidity and an expressive power one would suspect to be almost non-human, were it not for those moments in which the music, out of its own impulse and especially noticeably in the finales (as if to mitigate its congenial splendour), escapes from the performer's hands (though not from his watchful control) and shows us the pain that such exceptional power costs the pianist himself. These characteristics of interpretation marked the polyphonic religiosity of Sweeling's Fantasia, the luminous purity of Mozart's Sonata in C major, the monumental Goldberg Variations by J.S.Bach, and the Suite, op.25, of Schoenberg's - fantastic, virtuosic, instrumental play - works that composed a programme which, we are pleased to acknowledge, was exceptional in itself.

To the enthusiastic ovations and insistent requests, Glenn Gould kindly responded by offering a few more pieces. V.D.

One notices in the above review [as well as in the other reviews reprinted in the published version of this article], in spite of the highflown, 1950s style of writing, the "mode" that so distinguishes Italian from North American press coverage: the primacy given to the musical fact - by reviewers who are usually well-known musicians and scholars (with the exception of those signed "Vice" signifying a substitute reporter); the attention given to the choice of program and its significance (Luciano Alberti, Adelmo Damerini, Virgilio Doplicher); the hesitation to verbalize a judgment in the precariousness of a first impression (Luciano Alberti), when the context of the performer's evolution is not well known; the acknowledgment of Gould's unbalanced exteriority only to stress the miracle of what is produced, musically and pianistically, and is put in the service of the work evoked (Damerini); the absence of all that protagonismo and that opinionismo on the music reviewer's part which are instead so familiar to North-American readers. The exception is represented by the utterly deaf, prejudiced, reaction penned for Rome's Il Tempo by Guido Pannain, whom I remember as one of the most prominent musicologists and authors of the Fascist era...

Gould's Bach encores, writes the reporter of Rome's Giornale d'Italia, strangely brought to mind Dinu Lipatti. A quarter of a century after these reviews, continuing the Italian practice of recognizing and stressing the historical context, Piero Rattalino in his article "Piano Story" devoted to Gould also mentions Lipatti, as having preceded Gould in advocating the takeover, by the piano, of the English Virginalists. It is astounding, for Rattalino, that hardly anyone has followed Gould in performing Gibbons on the piano. It was a cultural project on the part of Gould to play harpsichord/virginal literature on an anachronistic instrument, at a time when contemporary culture was proceeding toward the philological recovery also of sonority. Historical and cultural awareness bring Rattalino to put Gould's thinking of music as an eminently mental fact, as a mathematical computation in which the sensory aspect of the sign - of the sound - is indispensable but not essential for the comprehension of the concept, into the context of Busoni's thinking. Gould carried onto the piano keyboard everything that had been thought by means of that computing machine which is the keyboard. It was an idea by Busoni that had never been adopted by Euroamerican culture. Gould used it as the carrying element of his cultural project. (Piano Time II/15, June 1984, 17)

One can only wonder what the great Italian critics of the era would have written had Gould also appeared in Milan, where the poet Eugenio Montale (Nobel Prize 1975) humbly reviewed concerts for the Corriere della Sera; or in Turin, where the great and beloved musicologist, Massimo Mila, wrote in La Stampa. The critical sensibility of the Italian public can still be honed by regular exposure to some of the finest minds of the day - versatile personalities, some actively engaged in cultural and political life, who are music critics by avocation and, most important, whose principal work is itself under public scrutiny. In the articles written by such critics, newspaper readers can follow a manner of thinking, an active striving for insight; they are not being administered a quick, re-active opinion in that oppressive manner that seems to be the only mode of Canadian press reviewing and media commentary. "We're a nation of evaluators," Gould once said,(1) and I recall his declaring, in one of his earliest filmed interviews, that critics were "totally unimportant."

What if the Canadian newspaper reader, the musical layperson, and the young student had access to the insights of a Northrop Frye, who started each day by playing Bach's Preludes and Fugues, who in his Divisions on a Ground - what Gouldian overtones in this title! - recalled "the essential role of criticism in the maturing of a culture," and who wrote so persuasively about non-evaluative criticism? (2) Or to the thinking of a Robertson Davies or a George Woodcock? Said Luciano Berio, "The pillars of Italian musical criticism - undoubtedly the best that I've ever come across - are people deeply rooted in music-making and its history." By contrast, he considers American music reviewing among the worst in the world and wonders whether Italy should perhaps export a few music critics along with its spaghetti and various luxury items: "Imagine what an impression it would leave, and what beneficient confusion it would create if you let Fedele D'Amico write for the New York Times even for a single month..." (3). Umberto Eco explains this habit, one "common to all European intellectuals," of writing "for daily papers and weekly magazines" as being born of a sense of duty, within a different "pattern of culture" and in a climate where there exists no such division of labour as n America (4).

Certainly in such a climate the variety of Gould's talents could find a congenial acceptance. It is my conviction that exposure to today's finest music criticism - by musicologist Giorgio Pestelli; by Germanist and biographer Quirino Principe; by Roman Vlad, now artistic director of La Scala; and by Piero Rattalino - and exposure to these critics' multiform activity in the community, to their imaginative radio and TV programmes, is responsible for the more extensive investigation of Gould's ideas by young Italian academics. It is also responsible for the greater openness of the general public to Gould's essential contribution. Not only do a greater number appear to be familiar with his writings, but they tend to disregard his media personality and focus on his achievements as a thinker in music.

Piero Rattalino, whose inquiries into Gould's art are described below [2: II, III], contributes regular articles to the major music magazines that are available in Italy: Piano Time, Musica, Symphonia, Amadeus, etc. In 1983, Massimo Mila greeted the appearance of Rattalino's book on great pianists (5) as an example of that recent "dispairing discipline, whose purpose it is to stop the most ephemeral aspect of music, its performance" (6). The reflections Rattalino shares arise from a sort of continuum of boundless information about the evolution of musical interpretation and the evolution of the individual performers whose art he studies. When in 1993 one of his former students from Milan's Conservatory, Simone Pedroni, won the Van Cliburn prize, Rattalino travelled to two different centres to hear him, putting the pianist's achievement in the perspective of his previous work, and he wrote a remarkable account in Piano Time (7). He is able, on occasion, "to put aside his professional listener's baggage" but, in the realm of ever-changing interpretations, he also puts himself continually under scrutiny as a 'judging subject' (8).

The perception of Glenn Gould in Italy is enhanced by the frequent presence of individual Canadian visitors who exemplify the country's cultural capital and provide the context for Gould's image and its significance. R.Murray Schafer, Northrop Frye, and Jean Jacques Nattiez had been in Bologna at various times before my arrival there in November 1989. The events surrounding their visits, which had included a tribute to McLuhan, were not only reported by the media, but had produced various after-effects. In academic courses their works had already been required reading, and they were frequently cited in the bibliographies of university theses. But each one of these Canadian cultural figures was also spoken about outside academia as a punto di riferimento, a "reference point," a term that was also used in regard to Gould by people from all walks of life.


By PRESENCE, in my title, I refer not only to "Canada? Ah, Glenn Gould...!"- the frequent reaction of Italians when I was introduced to them as a pianist resident in Canada - but to the many ways in which Gould's ideas and example have reached the wider spectrum of Italian cultural life. I refer to Gould's attualit, to the "present-ness" of his concerns; to the attention he received on the Italian radio and television network in a series of programs hosted by distinguished musicians; to Piero Rattalino's numerous articles with his insights into Gould's "creative presence"; to the conversations from which it was not the media-induced "image" of Gould, generating extremes of infatuation or rejection, that transpired, but a far greater awareness of his thought, of his ideas and their implications than I had ever encountered in my academic life in Canada. The various examples of this awareness had special meaning to me as a teacher.

It was naturally assumed that Gould's impact was even stronger in Canada's cultural landscape than it was in Italy. After all, as George Steiner has said, Gould's "monumental" contribution with the series of broadcasts on music that he made for Canadian radio and television added up to "a major feat of national education, of encouragement, by a teacher-patriot of rare devotion." (9) One would assume, therefore, that Canada would have a national audience receptive to such privilege. One would never imagine that the CBC, with its world-renowned programs, was not directly accessible across the entire country. In reality, even a centre such as London, Ontario, not too far from Toronto and with a population of more than a quarter of a million, depended until 1978 on the benevolence of a local, affiliated station to receive some CBC radio programmes - and until the mid-1980s for its television!

The kind of nationwide, coordinated network envisaged abroad, one that could create a truly communal sharing and address a collective musical sensibility, did not exist. The consequences, which became palpable in my university teaching experience, exacerbated the effects of what Steiner has called "the planned amnesia" of high school instruction in North America (10). Among these consequences: in twenty-five years of teaching in a music department of about five hundred promising, talented, young musicians, I had only one incoming piano student who was thoroughly acquainted with Gould's world and who would alert me as a newcomer to the Gould essays that had appeared in scattered journals; I met only a handful of young pianists who had at least superficially followed his radio and television programmes. The majority had only been fed the cliches about him and often were reluctant, in my classes, to undertake the Gould reading assignments.

And never was Gould's work considered "a point of reference" or given the dignity of serious academic consideration.


To speak of an ITALIAN PERSPECTIVE inevitably implies a translation of Gould's writings and performances into a foreign cultural climate, one in which they may resonate with other echoes, evoke a new network of associations, and acquire different connotations. It is translation that shapes and affects the critical sensitivity of the fruitore - a current Italian term that does not have an English equivalent and is variously rendered as user, patron, consumer, receiver (11) - and therefore also the Italian fruitore of Gould's recordings and essays.

The social and aesthetic significance of Gould's role, his "attempt to connect pianism with the larger society," (12) places him among those intellectuals whose work is considered divulgativo - another difficult term, the usual translation as "popularizing" hardly conveying the implied action of disseminating. We have seen that Eco speaks of the intellectual's duty toward the general fruitore. and the specialist accomplishes this duty always by relating the listener, the reader, the fruitore, to the subject. This was also Gould's way as a divulgatore: the path advocated by Frye, as against "the slithering downward way" of relating the subject to the audience (the one unfortunately adopted since the 1970s by all the hosts and "guest-hosts" of CBC's music programmes). (13);

Gould's versatility finds a most congenial climate in Italy. Unlike North America, where specialization predominates, the Italian milieu has an inherent plurality that manifests itself in many different ways: in the social and professional roles that can be exchanged when, say, a well-established musician becomes mayor of Florence or, conversely, when a trained psychiatrist becomes a conductor; (14) in the "pluri-vocal" context often adopted in magazine articles, such as the one in Panorama discussed below, a montage of four contributing "voices," each one dealing with a different aspect of Gould; or, exemplifying Rattalino's interest in musical evolution, in the "Sixteen views of Bach's Chaconne." The latter comprises an historical and analytical study of the work by the participants in one of Rattalino's university courses; a survey of the re-elaborations, transcriptions, revisions, and performances of the work, i.e., "an excursus of interpretation in a global sense, from which transpires the evolution of musical taste through the years." It also includes analyses of recorded performances by violinists, guitarists, and pianists (including Busoni's and Benedetti Michelangeli's), as well as a fac-simile of the manuscript, and a CD. (15)

Yet another example of this non-specialized attitude is the predilection for historical juxtapositions, like those in the concert I attended at the Bologna Conservatory, which offered alternately Baroque and electronic music. Under the gaze of Farinelli's portrait on the wall, the last piece for viola da gamba, voice, and harpsichord was unexpectedly followed by its electronically manipulated version: a creative intervention that brought delight both to the audience and to the "authentic" performers still on stage.

Gould, who was the first to relate Byrd to Berg, Schoenberg to Sweelinck in his concert programmes, nevertheless considered electronic superimpositions rather a "disadvantage" in that they create "a climate of public acceptance" of speakers as executors; and in these "St. Mark's"- like exhibitions, the audience remained for him "remote from a genuine electronic participation." For Gould, "the future of the art of music" awaited for the "fuller participation" of the new kind of listener, one who was no longer passive but was the "dedicated connoisseur" who created his own ideal performance. (16)

When in his 1964 "Perspective" Gould juxtaposed the two moments of historical transition represented by Monteverdi and Schoenberg, he described the process toward tonality in the late Renaissance as one toward a "public, common language."(GGR,109) In our own transitional period we do not know whether electronic music will eventually become such a "language," but in Italy one can observe an easy coexistence of traditional with all kinds of contemporary music.

Gould believed that music could assume "a role as immediate, as utilitarian, as colloquial" as that of language in our daily lives. (GGR,352) Thus, he joins other twentieth-century thinkers - Mondrian comes to mind (17) - when he ventures that "art would be unnecessary...the professional specialization involved in its making would be presumption....The audience would be the artist and their life would be art." (GGR,353)


In order to convey the kind of perspective within which the interest in Gould arose in Italy, I give below a few examples that I gathered during my six-months visit to Bologna. They include, first, the Canadian connection at the University of Bologna; a thesis that takes Gould's technological vision as its point of departure (1989); next, an analysis of Gould's CD releases available in Italy in 1989, addressed both to the connoisseur and the lay collector; a magazine's presentation of the touring Gould exhibit in Rome (1987); and finally, a note in a daily newspaper regarding the series of Gould's video programs on Italian television.



It was a peculiar sight: I was in Italy after thirty years and was scanning the lists of required textbooks at Bologna's famous DAMS (18) - that unique interdisciplinary experiment of university courses in the "discipline delle arti, musica, e spettacolo" - and most of the titles on the bulletin board were by Canadian authors! One would expect to find Innis, McLuhan, and Gould among the authors assigned at the Istituto di Discipline della Comunicazione (some of whose young researchers had spent a year in Toronto, after the director, Umberto Eco, donated his McLuhan Prize for this purpose). But at the Music Department, the books and articles by David Lidov, Jean-Jacques Nattiez, R.Murray Schafer, and John Shepherd were an unexpected surprise for a Canadian visitor. (19)

In several Bologna bookstores I had noticed a wonderful title, La musica come sapere sociale, but it had not occurred to me that the John Shepherd who wrote it was the Ottawa professor I knew. Then I observed that at different times in various classes, one of the students always carried this book with him, and I asked to see it. "It is the greatest book in the whole world," he announced with operatic intensity. The author was indeed our professor from Carleton University, and this particular collection had first appeared in Italian in1988 .(20) Another book on the list, Nattiez's Il discorso musicale (1987), has not even been published in English (21). The blurbs on the covers of both books reflected their aim to reach the general (not only the erudite) Italian reader, especially Shepherd's essays, which embraced the musical universe of the layman.

I kept discovering more evidence of a Canadian connection:

The day before my arrival, Nattiez had delivered the first of a series of public lectures on the arts that were given by eminent scholars. Sponsored by Bologna's City Council and held in an old palazzo near Piazza Maggiore, they were announced on posters all over town. Later during my stay, the Italian edition of Nattiez's Musicologia generale e semiologia was presented to the audience in the intermission of a chamber music concert. The author was obviously "a point of reference" in that milieu.

Six months earlier, in April 1989, Northrop Frye had received an honorary doctorate during the celebrations of the ninth centenary of the University. In the "glorious hall, all ablaze with colourful togas and mortar-boards..., the university choir singing their ancient hymn..., the ceremony reached moments of intense emotion, when the elderly master from the University of Toronto was proclaimed dottore of the Alma Mater Studiorum..." (22) Frye and Umberto Eco read papers a few days later to inaugurate the celebrations of "Bologna - Nationes," whose theme was the relation between technology and the humanities. Five days were devoted to "the cultural ties between the Ateneo [University] and Canadian culture." (23) These celebrations included a tribute to McLuhan, which was described as "another touching moment when, after an actor's reading of pages by Marshall McLuhan, his daughter Stephanie was presented with a gift of coins minted on the occasion of the IX Centenary of the University."

Two of the Canadian days were devoted to Marconi, "who a hundred years ago with his invention started the technological revolution which changed the modern world." A gigantic radio link via satellite made possible a videoconference between the universities of Bologna and Ottawa on the theme of intercontinental telecommunications. One wonders whether Glenn Gould, when he was in Newfoundland collecting voices and "auditory seascapes" for his radio documentary (The Latecomers), (24) ever heard through the earphones, on Signal Hill, the three dots (the Morse code for S) - the replica of the 1901 first radio signal by Marconi across the Atlantic.

The year before my visit, R.Murray Schafer had spoken at Bologna's DAMS on "Environment and Soundscape," at an international seminar conceived and organized by a young graduate, Vincenzo Perna, and titled "Musica & Mass media: Prospettive per l'Universit." (25) Several people, from all walks of life, had enthused about Il paesaggio sonoro, the Italian version of Schafer's celebrated soundscape book, The Tuning of the World. I had to confess to them that it had been mostly ignored by my Canadian students - and also by my colleagues. "But it's a point of reference!" they protested...

During my stay I had the opportunity to examine Vincenzo Perna's 1989 doctoral thesis, Nuove Tecnologie, Comunicazione e Musica: la Ri-Produzione Sonora. It opens with a lengthy quotation taken from "The Prospects of Recording," in which Gould states his views on the transformations that the electronic age will bring to the art of music and to human lives. (GGR,353) Gould's impact and achievement are presented within a vast arch of interdisciplinary efforts. For Perna, Gould's contribution was "paradigmatic of the overturning of perspective brought about by the introduction of new techniques of sound reproduction." He points out that Gould "grasped most sharply their aesthetic and sociological implications," though "with the kind of technological Utopianism similar to that of his compatriot McLuhan, and of John Cage" (124-127). Perna's thesis goes beyond the usual investigations by "musicologists for whom sound reproduction is simply a channel for music," and beyond the technical, quantitative analyses by communications experts for whom "music belongs to a realm outside that of mass communication" (VI-VII). Perna links the new listening models to "the opera aperta envisaged by the avantgarde" and sees reproduction as having brought "il paesaggio sonoro inside the music"(226). In developing his arguments, Perna draws from numerous Canadian sources, including Norman McLaren (whose animated short film Spheres, from 1969, has Gould's Bach as its soundtrack), the composer and soundscape researcher Barry Truax (whose writings have appeared in Italian), Paul Zumthor (La presenza della voce), and Edmund Carpenter (whose statement on "auditory space" from Eskimo Realities [1973], concludes the thesis). But Perna's is not the usual academic compilation. His skillfully woven arguments, and the range of associations reveal a deeply meditated labour; references and quotations emerge to sustain the enormous amount of information. As for his bibliography, it appearss to have been indeed "conquered step by step and with pain (sofferta)," as Umberto Eco advises in his paper on "University and Mass Media." (26) In the conclusion of this same paper, Eco seems to take up Gould's citation of McLuhan's observation that cultural awareness is always one generation behind the experience.(GGR,345) Eco calls attention to the current "discovery" by the mass media "that we are entering the image civilization" forty years after sociologists had said so and just when "the new civilization of the computer is an alphabetical one and we are returning to Gutenberg's Galaxy." The invaluable role of the university, says Eco, is that it provides students with ideas twenty years before the mass media arrive at a "strenuously conquered clich." (27)



Gould's prophecy of "individualized control and choice of technology has come true": so wrote Stephen Godfrey in his 1990 article, "Plugging into Gould's legacy," devoted to the Glenn Gould Profile, an interactive "hypermedia" system that was "using text, photos, sound and video" to explore Gould's life and ideas, and was "preparing the pianist's legacy for the twenty-first century." (28) Gould had predicted the coming of "videocassette cartridges," and one can only wonder how the current interactive possibilities of advanced videodiscs, CD-ROM, and the Internet will contribute to his vision of technology doing "extraordinary things for the musicality of man."

The extent of Gould's clairvoyance is exemplified in a recent Italian article entitled "Non piu opera unica, ma epica o luogo collettivo" ("No longer a unique work, but an epic one or a collective place"), by Angela Vettese.(29) Gould's idea "that the end result of all our labours in the recording studio is not going to be an autocratic finished product... but a rather more democratic assemblage," (30) reverberates throughout Vettese's article. In it, she describes contemporary Italian and American artworks in which "anonymous collective participation supplants the traditional subjectivism of the artist The very concept of an individual creator is today the focus of widespread suspicion, expressed in Foucault's definition of the 'Author' as one who, like other coercive institutions, imposes himself on peoples' conscience, and closes them instead of opening them wide." In 1966, Gould had written about the "overlapping of professional and lay responsability" that lay ahead. "Many more hands will be required to achieve the execution of a particular environmental experience," he said, and "because so many different levels of participation will, in fact, be merged in the final result, the individualized information concepts which define the nature of identity and authorship will become very much less imposing." (GGR,352)

Among various examples of European Internet experiments, Vettese describes some of those created in Italy, in which artistic projects are left continually open to outside contributions, to be modified and developed by others, so that "they result in a collective work by many hands."

From a larger perspective, i.e., from a point of view of historical awareness, one could also look at the continuum of traditional music-making as one in which, through the years, artist performers have continually modified and imaginatively reconstructed the "canon," the inherited repertoire. They have also built on, and with, their "remembrances of things played" (31) - the performances and the insights of other musicians. As for contemporary composers, "we are all working on the same piece," as Lucas Foss once said. (32) Rather than supplanting the art of musical performance as we know it, the interactive explorations that are made possible by the new technological instruments may, in the right hands, present an extension of what Rattalino called Gould's "invention on the text." The question now is: Who will be the "dedicated connoisseur" that Gould envisaged for the task?

In his article on the multimedia Glenn Gould Profile, Godfrey said that "its creators hope it will lead to a revolution in learning about the arts, at school and at home," adding that the "real dream" of the company's president was to see such programs becoming accessible "in five years." (33) University is the proper place in which to nourish today's connoisseurs and prepare them for the changing environment. One would expect to find within the "applied music" and "music education" departments of Canadian universities if not the adoption and exploitation, at least an awareness of all the new interactive possibilities that are becoming available.(34) That they have not been explored (at least not during my Canadian pedagogical experience up to 1995), and that the academic environment remains bent on consolidating the passivity of the consumers, is the subject of the last section (IV) of this paper.


II : 1. Glenn Gould in insalata capricciosa (Piero Rattalino)

The image of Canada as a country of immense resources blessedly handled with skill, efficiency, and know-how makes it very perplexing, in Italy, to understand what is perceived to be a lack of proper care for Gould's recorded legacy. "Is it possible," asks Rattalino, "that in Canada where funds are available, and where Gould is justly a national glory," no one sees the need to publish his work in "systematic chronological order?"... "How is it possible that companies do not arise for the purpose of publishing the opera omnia of performers?" (35)

Rattalino's 1990 article, which can be translated as "Glenn Gould in a mixed bag," appeared before Sony began the projects of the Glenn Gould Edition (GGE) and the Glenn Gould Collection (GGC), and before Sony's release of Gould's complete recordings and videos were available. However, Rattalino's arguments against the nine CD versions he discusses (mostly on Music and Arts, and Nuova Era labels) could not but remain the same for Sony, since its releases also have followed a non-chronological pattern. I would imagine that Rattalino would concur with R. Everett-Green who called the GGE a "deluxe retrospective" rather than an opera omnia, in his 1993 review of the five-disc addition containing mostly CBC broadcasts made between 1957 and 1970. (36) The eighth and last release of three discs, in 1997, contains recordings made between 1959 and 1980.

The works Rattalino mentions as still missing (in 1990), the Beethoven Hammerklavier and the Chopin Sonata, are now available in GGE vii, and GGE iii, respectively. I can only translate and summarize here the main points of the seven-page article, and I add my comments at the end:

-"Since Revcom Television's release of twenty-three reels of "The Glenn Gould performance series," an avalanche of Gould's discs has appeared as a result and, in my view, it is more a bad than a good thing. The TV registrations cover a period between 1954 to 1980, but do not contain all the televised Gould. They exclude works whose existence is known, such as Beethoven's Hammerklavier and - udite, udite! [hear ye, hear ye!] - Chopin's Sonata op.58. Gould as interpreter of Chopin? It would be the atomic bomb, as anyone knows who is familiar with his ideas on Romanticism.

- The recordings are coming out "badly" in the sense that they appear in a disorderly way, according to grouping criteria which favour the authors rather than the evolution of the interpreter, of Gould.

- The savvy listener will look at the dates, relate them with the CBS recordings, and insert them into the artistic evolution of Gould, which was a very profound one. But what will happen to the innocent listener, the one who buys on sale the disc of a famous pianist? ... What can he do, not knowing about the clashing relationship of Gould with Beethoven? And moreover, between Gould and the image of Beethoven within the American culture?

- ...These interpretations are incomprehensible if one does not depart from the Gould of the 1950s and arrive at the Gould of 1980 to retrace the whole of his Beethoven, the whole story of a relationship that saw the fury, the insults, the fights, and which ended in romance.

- Our century has been signed by the possibility we enjoy of preserving interpretations, and we ought to study them properly and prepare the technical tools that would allow us to do so... Today it is the public institutions that ought to promote this turn in the history of culture - beginning with the public powers in Canada, a country where there aren't that many musicians and there is only one Gould. (I apologize to the readers for unburdening myself in this way.)

- ... Only a few bits of the spoken comments from the television programs are carried onto the discs, thus removing the performance from its special context... When Menuhin speaks of "gesture rather than notes," although not intended physiologically, his "gesture" must be seen. ... The spoken preliminaries are essential to understand what Gould wants to do, otherwise one asks not what he wants to do, but what on earth he is doing. ... I would recommend the disc of Beethoven's Variations op.35, but it might disorient anyone who has not "seen" Gould's veritable recitation of it.

- Without a scientifically prepared edition of all the recordings, the dangers of incomprehension and misunderstanding are very high both for the naive listener and for the one who knows Gould only halfway.

- ... Gould never consents to see the innocence in Mozart: he sees in him the play, the unrestrained eros of human adolescence, which is not innocent. But he also sees in Mozart, astonishingly, the tragic pathos of Don Giovanni's solitude, especially in the A minor Sonata K.310 - an interpretation to keep in mind as one of the most complete Mozartean interpretations ever heard.

- The performance of Brahms's Concerto N.1 with the Baltimore Symphony (8 October 1962) occurred six months after the famous one with Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic (8 April 1962) ...In Baltimore, Bernstein would have had no reason to contest anything, because Gould's performance was perfectly normal, even pseudo-classical...Perhaps Gould had changed his mind, or had decided to carry out his job as a hired performer without creating scandals which - let the reader forgive me if I say so: I hope not to appear gossipy - in Baltimore would have never had the echo it received in New York ? Mah...

- Let us wait for the omnia, done according to God's will..."



The current availability of Gould's Hammerklavier and his Chopin, promises interesting follow-ups to Rattalino's 1990 article. His concern for Gould's evolution as an interpreter represents a particular challenge. In Remembrances of Things Played: Presence and Memory in the Pianist's Art, Edward Said - perhaps the only critic in North America who is similarly interested in and articulate about the evolution of pianistic interpretation - pointed out that "Gould seemed actually to invent himself and his playing; it was as if he had no antecedents."(37) What Said calls "encounters with memory" would apply in Gould's case only to the memory network generated by and within his own evolving readings.

Rattalino's regret for the lack of chronological ordering of the discs is echoed by B.W.Powe in regard to The Glenn Gould Reader. Had the essays been arranged chronologically rather than thematically, says Powe, "we would have been exposed to an explicit autobiographical record." (38)

Rattalino's perspective, then, is one that also embraces the uninformed and the ill-informed listener. One is reminded of Frye's idea of genuine education - of relating the student/listener to the subject - when one sees Rattalino's concern that listeners be given the best tools so that they may understand the intentions of the artist. It is regrettable that now, when the best technological tools and resources were available to produce the Gould retrospective, it cannot be disseminated in a way that would serve the artist better. It is an outsider's perception, of course, to see it as a Canadian responsibility to do the correct thing for Gould. (Had Rattalino been able to come to the 1992 conference and attend the great banquet, he too would have been greeted, from Japan, by Sony's president, whose face appeared on the many TV screens around the hall.)

Already in his 1983 survey of great pianists, Rattalino approached Gould's Mozart on Gould's terms, which is especially remarkable since his own research is based on the very premises Gould rejects, Mozart's "theatrical gift."(39) However, in this 1990 article there appears a new perception, that of Don Giovanni's pathos in Gould's performance.

As for the Brahms Concerto..., to my knowledge, none of the New York reviewers listed by Friedrich (40) had heard Gould perform it in Baltimore as well, and only recently have the two recorded versions been compared, by Jed Distler. According to Distler, Gould's concern with "the relationship between tempos" in Brahms's D minor Concerto was "better realized" in Baltimore, with the adoption of faster tempos.(41)


2. The punishing of a myth

At the beginning of his insalata capricciosa article, Rattalino intimated that the Italian TV network was planning to broadcast Revcom Television's series of twenty-three Gould programs, and he anticipated a proliferation of private video- taping. The series started in the spring of 1990, and the programs were supervised and introduced by him.

I had returned to Canada by then, and my attempts to receive full information from Italy were fruitless. In June I read a brief article in Corriere della Sera, under the TV Diary section, where next to Gould's picture the heading said, "Is he a myth of the piano? Then he must be punished." After commenting on the opening events of the soccer World Cup 90, Oreste del Buono, the renowned Italian critic and fumetti [cartoons] expert, vented his outrage about the fact that the third installment in the "exceptional musical program, A myth of our century: Glenn Gould. The genius of the piano," had been moved to 1:15 a.m.! The works to be featured were by Bach, Sweelinck, Beethoven, and Krenek. Del Buono chided Rai Tre (a network that still preserves vestiges of the old Third Program) for never keeping to the appointed program: "If respecting schedules was the mania of Mussolini and the Fascist regime, then Rai Tre is an absolutely antifascist network, now and ever."(42)

Late-night scheduling of Gould's programs was the rule throughout the 1970s on the affiliated station in London, Ontario. This made it impossible to share the programs with the students, or to impose whatsoever fascistic assignments

III 1. Panorama - 1987

"A great manifestation, as multiform as his activity," said the renowned author and critic Elisabetta Rasy, announcing to the readers of the magazine Panorama the upcoming Omaggio a Gould exhibit in Rome, in May 1987, which was organized by the Canadian Cultural Centre. It is a re-launching of the myth, says the heading, a rediscovery which, "from a cult for the few, creates a myth for everyone."(43)

In her admirable, concise profile, Rasy - who appears to have read everything by and about Gould - observes that Italy, too, has experiences "the spreading of the Gould "legend" beyond the narrow circle of connoisseurs." She compares the images of Gould as a youth, all grace and beauty, to those of the last years, when he appeared as "a sort of demonic and pensive clochard." But she mentions Gould's eccentric behaviour only for its irrelevancy to a "really anticonformist cultural and psychological personality." For Gould, the true new frontier of music was technology - "the realm of distant action, which in his personal vision of reality and humanity, represented salvation." Technology would undo the false authoritarianism of the concert stage, it would create greater intimacy between interpreter and listener, and above all "it would orient the listener toward the interior of music rather than the exterior virtuoso exhibitionism." Gould loved the radio, "to which he contributed continually, and for which he realized the Solitude Trilogy, using the human voice and noise as elements of a musical text."

Rasy's profile of Gould is interspersed contrapuntally with shorter interventions by three other critics, Rattalino among them, creating a sort of multi-perspective on the Gould "legend." Under the heading "Displaying a Prophet," the first contributor mentions that "the soul of the world's gould-ism, Bruno Monsaingeon" will open the exhibit, and that Rattalino will give the closing lecture. He asks whether instead of the conventional cypher "genius of solitude" one should not perhaps "consider Gould's a more modern longing to communicate?" The Idea of North is singled out among the dozens of programs by Gould and by others that will be offered during this series of homages. Gould, this writer observes, will be "present" at the exhibit with a "silent, not quite technological simulacrum" - his piano chair.

The second intervention is a witty survey of an international roster of young "piano stars," from Pogorelich to Lortie, as "The Inheritors of the Myth." However, says Rattalino in the third intervention, even if a few pianists may have absorbed some of his style, Gould had no followers. Any attempt to imitate him becomes grotesque, because at the basis of Gould's inimitability is "the element of his invention on the text, which clearly prevails over the element of fidelity to the text." In our century, continues Rattalino, "musical interpretation has rejected the concept of creation and has embraced the concept of fidelity. And it is the charge of creativity, even when pushed to provocation, that the public has grasped and still grasps in Gould, and repays with success." The heading of Rattalino's entry is "Down with the Infidels."


2. The grain of the touch

Shortly before the 1992 Gould conference I read an Italian book review, well composed, which sounded strangely gouldian to me. The book, Flatus vocis, was presented as a "keen study" of two biblical myths dealing with the human voice and its power, or inability, to communicate. (44) In the beginning, voice coincides with being: "it is pure power to express; the fullness of men is wrapped in a continuum of sound." Then the voice becomes word, language: it is no longer flesh, but logos, "no longer a universal breath that unites humans as a resounding Eden, but a fragmentation of sounds, alien to one another." Throughout history, only in religion, poetry, and love has it still been given to experience the fullness of the voice - yet "it may be in music that the intact human sonority can be found again."

In his preface to this book, Paul Zumthor (author of The Presence of the Voice encountered in Perna's thesis) observes that today a disturbing element has upset the mythical aspect of the voice: "Its technical reproductiveness, ever more pervasive and omnipotent, has changed our immaginario sonoro," our sound landscape. It has altered the limits of the corporeal, and in the tactile and visual absence of the body, it is now possible to find again the voice-body of the origin - "even in rock concerts, where one can hear not the voice of a body, but the body of a voice."

The primeval sonority is now being reclaimed, says the reviewer, "centuries after writing has sunk the voice." "Let us embalm our word," exhorted Barthes in the opening of his The Grain of the Voice, "in order that we may last a little beyond our voice." (45) But it is to the voice that we turn today, concludes the reviewer, "so that it may last longer than the human person and its fragile written trace."

I took this article with me to the conference, and only on the train did I notice that it was signed "Elisabetta Rasy" - the author, five years earlier, of the Gould profile.

Through all the reproduction techniques, it is the body of "Gould's sound" that is heard, the unique presence of his touch, "ce grain immdiatement identifiable." (46)


IV The landscape of amnesia

All the Italian experiences and most of the Gouldian references I have described came my way before the Toronto conference. Those that followed, in a Canadian context, likewise occurred before the establishment of the "Friends of Glenn Gould" Society, and of the Glenn Gould magazine, both of which represent a turning point at last, in the study of the pianeta Gould - Gould's "planet," as Italians put it. I find it pertinent to describe and comment upon two of these experiences which, coming as they did at the end of my academic teaching in Canada, seemed to illuminate and synthesize the nature of my efforts. Whether in piano classes, piano literature courses, conferences, competitions, etc., I had never ceased to envision the possibility of a landscape of shared presences, memories, points of reference, within the Canadian musical community

There were two pedagogical sites where the resonances of the conference and of the "Italian perspective" on Gould could be put into action. The first was at my university, as a single illustrated lecture (1. UWO); the second was at the Universit canadienne en France in Villefranche, during an entire semester (2. UCF). The title of the lecture I gave in 1992 was "Glenn Gould: the View from Italy - a Theme and Diversions;" the 1995 course was a "Cultural Survey" of the social development of music, with R.M. Schafer's Le paysage sonore and Gould's The Idea of North as the principal required readings.

1. UWO

The "applied music" departments at Canadian universities would appear to be the ideal spaces in which to explore Gould's pedagogical principles and their implications. That these indeed should represent "a threat to the musical profession as we know it," as Monsaingeon says, (47) is exactly the kind of subject that institutions of "higher learning" ought to ponder and debate - if one is to believe in the critical function of the university. There is a great need to examine the sort of "embalming" process taking place in the transient art of performance just when infinite possibilities for individual creativity have opened up, possibilities undreamed of even in Gould's prophetic writings.

An evidence of this process took place during my Campus lecture, when it became apparent that the "Diversions" in the title represented in fact a total "divergence" with the perceptions of the audience. The visual illustrations consisted of slides taken during the Toronto conference - including those of the schoolchildren's "Parade into the Future - and of a group photo taken on July 1, 1967, with Gould and other eminent Canadians. As musical illustrations I presented a selection of Gould's recorded performances, with the aim of illustrating what Rattalino wrote about them:

What did Rattalino mean when he said that Gould's reading of Mozart's Fantasia K.475 ought to be inscribed in gold, a lettere d'oro, and that the Sonata K.310 reflected the pathos of Don Giovanni's solitude? What did he mean by the "interpretive tradition of Beethoven with which even the naive listener was faintly acquainted" and against which Rattalino put Gould's reading of the C Minor Variations as "mortally stagnant and drowned in pedal"?

As for Rattalino's conjectures regarding Gould's secret passion for Romanticism, one that "if manifested, might have destroyed him," I used the recording of "Enoch Arden" by Strauss as an example of Gould's panache with ultra-Romantic style. (The GGE vii release of the Chopin Sonata op.58 was not yet available; I quoted Gould's statement about having made a radio recording of it [1970] "just to amuse myself or to irritate my friends.") (48).) In 1983, when the existence of any Gould recording of Chopin was unknown, Rattalino had imagined a "voluptuous" Chopin on Gould's part. I made light of Rattalino's reference to Anatole France's Thais, and of his natural assumption that, for his Italian non-specialist readers, he needed no footnotes in regard to France's puritanical Atanaele-Gould and the carnal beauty of Thais-Chopin. (49)

At that moment, I noticed in the audience a colleague from the French department shaking her head with a disconsolate look. There had been no smiles from the students, and, throughout the lecture, in spite of all explanations and commentaries, no interaction could be elicited with any of the illustrations, either heard or seen.

I was overcome by the memory of having lectured in that very auditorium twenty-one years earlier, in 1971, to an equally polite and passive student audience, and by the awareness that I was repeating many of the things which already then had seemed so pressing. Too often, the only reaction on the part of the students was: "Do I have to know it?" - a leitmotif invariably followed by: "Will it be on the exam?" Both manifested Frye's view that students' anxieties "make the primary response to whatever is being said." (50)

Bright and talented students came to university each year, and I gave them a questionnaire asking them to list, beside their repertoire, some of the piano recordings they owned, the concerts they had heard, the radio/TV programs they listened to, and the books that were important to them as young musicians. Year after year many of the pages remained blank. And Gould was never mentioned.

Both in the earlier, and in the 1992 university lectures, I had tried to recreate for others the wonder of the spell I had felt when I first heard the music by English virginalists performed by Gould. This was a heritage that my generation in Italy had only read about, but I was to learn that to Canadian piano students it represented an equally unknown dimension. Thanks to Gould, before music departments relegated this repertoire to the performance practices of Ancient Music, I included the study of the Virginalists in a course I called "The Road to Bach."

Because reading "in the full sense of referential recognition" is no longer part of their schooling, (51) and because Gould's essays contain such a rich world of references, students in my piano literature classes found it too onerous an undertaking to read them. I encouraged them to discover why "no other piano virtuoso in our day, save Brendel, writes as persuasively as Gould did," (52) and left my copy of the Glenn Gould Reader on library reserve (with a warning on the wrapping: "Do not leave marks or signs!"). I have the copy on my desk as I write - it had hardly been touched.

The title of my 1971 lecture was "Shootin' at Piano Players" - an echo, it would seem, of what Frye called the "militant job" of teaching. Indeed one could paraphrase Frye and say that at university, it is the teacher of piano who is in contact with the student's total musical experience and "sees most clearly...what kind of enemy it has to fight. What faces him is not simply a mass of unexamined assumptions but a complete and mostly phony mythology, made up of cliche and prejudice and stock response." (53)

Once more, in 1992, I was attempting to activate an imaginaire that was not there and to appeal to points of reference, Canadian ones, that the students could not share. I showed the photo of the six distinguished Canadians brought together to celebrate Canada's Centennial on July 1, 1967. (54) Of course, most of that audience belonged to the generation born after that year, the year of "Expo 67," Terre des Hommes. It was in that year that I elected Canada as my "spiritual" home. For a newcomer to be greeted by this picture, it truly represented a symbolic convergence - both a reassurance and a promise. In order to begin teaching in a climate of shared symbols, I was keen to learn the "points of reference" of my new Canadian environment.

In the photo, all the symbols seemed to be in place. There was the resonance of the setting: it evoked to someone of my generation the endings of some 1930s and 1940s American films, which we had only been able to see after World War II. The name of Sir Ernest MacMillan had long been familiar to me from the short-wave radio - the airwaves being the principal musical tutor for my generation in Italy (Rattalino often refers to this shared apprenticeship). Sir Ernest had founded in Canada the kind of Conservatory system that I had missed in the U.S., one that seemed to promise the existence of a national musical education, of a striving toward the building and the sharing of a collective musical sensibility. (55)

Among the students in my 1992 audience nobody recognized Sir Ernest, though they did recognize Gould; they hesitated about McLuhan; the names of A.Y. Jackson and Morley Callaghan were known to some; few had heard of actress Kate Reid. I told them that I would have liked to see Northrop Frye in the picture (he had last visited the UWO campus in 1989, shortly before going to Bologna), because I had found uncanny overtones of Frye's teaching in the writings of Gould. (56)

By 1967, Gould was no longer performing in public. In the Canadian cultural context in which, as a newcomer, I viewed Gould, one of the most important references was the radio. "No matter what, there'll be the CBC," my Midwestern friends reassured me, when I expressed some apprehension about moving to London, Ontario in 1967. Indeed, news about Gould's original radio programmes had reached us at Indiana, and this to me was again a promise of a radio and TV that were forging a collective artistic sensibility. But as I mentioned earlier, there was no "CBC" in London. When a concert of mine was broadcast, friends phoned me from Toronto to tell me I was on the air. Colleagues would drive halfway to Toronto on the 401, to hear themselves on the car radio.

Strangely, there was at the time no campus radio at the University of Western Ontario to offer the kind of serious alternative that existed at American universities. Umberto Eco has written about American campus radio in one of his columns, citing them as examples for the three Italian national networks to follow, as representing the most adequate solution to their hopeless financial and political squabbles! Fine broadcasts, he suggested, can be managed by just a couple of people giving brief, discreet introductions to well-chosen programmes.

I have kept two "talismans" from that period: the confidential minutes of a meeting held to discuss the establishment in Stratford of an Academy of Arts, Music, and Drama; and a letter from two professors at Western, themselves newcomers, outlining the project of a classical radio station on campus. Neither plan was allowed to became a reality. (57)

To conclude the "diversions" of my 1992 lecture at UWO, I presented the audience with slides of the Parade into the Future that had taken place in Toronto earlier that fall during the first Gould conference. (58) Announced as a "magical celebration, ... a pageant of sounds and images based on the imagination and ideas of Glenn Gould," this parade very much resembled an old-fashioned, Italianate, religious procession!




Metro youngsters clad in blue smocks were holding placards - i vessilli - on poles, with effigies of Gould. They were led by a sort of village band consisting of three "keyboard" accordionists with red caps (red? not tweed? well, for TV...), who were playing, udite, udite, the Aria from the Goldberg Variations. Did the number three stand for the Thirty Variations? Or, was there a hint at the "numerological significance" of the Gould family names? ("they jointly tally III," wrote Gould in the witty conclusion of his "Bodky on Bach" review, "a figure that renders all further comment superfluous." (GGR,31)

On the far right, an iceberg float (The Idea of North), with a miniature Gould figure sitting on top, could be taken to represent "the statue" in a religious procession. Other children in white smocks held note-like black balloons, others gloves with moving fingers; others still carried large phonograph records, discs, on their backs, swaying and cavorting along. Alas, the little girl rolling her disc whom we asked about Glenn Gould had no idea who he was.

I sought solace, whispering to a distinguished European guest, "It's a bit slow...isn't it?" "Better," he snapped, "so one can take pictures!"


In 1978, our Faculty hosted a national symposium on CBC and Music. I remember intervening, inspired by the same outsider's puzzlement, and the same perception of Canadian resources, technology, and capabilities, as did Rattalino in 1989. There were impressive displays all around, and self-congratulatory handouts about the CBC music programmes, and all the new technological marvels and linkages. Speaking as a resident teacher, I asked the distinguished guests whether they realized that we had no direct access to CBC programming. I pointed out that there were consequences, not only in the whole spectrum of communal musical reception, but especially for the development of large numbers of young music students from Ontario and other areas, who came to university without having previously absorbed what instead their peers from Toronto and Montreal could. I added that it was puzzling to see the passive acceptance of this situation by the teaching profession... No one responded; only Keith McMillan, the son of Sir Ernest, had some friendly comments for what I had said, afterwards, outside.

There are still parts of Canada where there is no access to the CBC and where the airwaves are filled with the sounds of American rock and country music stations; yet among the young people in these same regions one finds the finest musical potential. One of our graduates, who is teaching in a school in the Far North, told me that he has become so exasperated with the situation, that he has been busy in our music library, making tapes of classical repertoire to take along for the benefit of his classes.

When later in 1978 the CBC did become directly available to us, it sponsored a fine series of concerts, Festival London, to celebrate the event. One concert, "Berlin in the 1920s," by the Stratford Ensemble conducted by Raffi Armenian, included Schoenberg's cabaret songs and seemed especially apt to attract music students. Alas, only a handful of them attended. Habits had not been formed, and their priorities were elsewhere. The next morning, I stormed into the hall where two hundred students were sitting and passively taking notes in a Music History class. I chided them for having missed hearing the previous night's concert and for not celebrating the CBC event. I reminded them that it had taken (for me) eleven years to have the presence of the CBC in town. Uncomprehending, disapproving looks and murmurings about "exams" were the only reaction. Gould's "inner ear of the imagination" had little chance of being developed in a system that favoured learning data and evaluations of music, while bypassing all preliminary assimilation of its sound.

(It was ironic that by the time we had direct access to the CBC, it had ceased to be the edifying national presence we had longed for. Most of the classical music programmes have been in the hands of a series of opinionisti for whom the highest significance of a piece, or of a performer, is that it is their favourite. The listeners' existing level of perception is reinforced; the familiarity of the repertoire remains reassuring , and any awareness of Gould's creative participant would find no market appeal.)

I became used, at the end of my lectures, to have students express their appreciation, but without any questions, or personal reactions to what had been presented. Their passivity, and their inability to interact, seem to me only a manifestation of that contemporary musical climate which Luciano Berio describes as being one without a real "interlocutor." What he says, referring specifically to the music of American composers, pertains also to Gould's world of ideas: "It...has nobody to really address itself to, no cultural or spiritual destination, even sub-consciously. In other words, it lacks a real 'market' of musical ideas that strive to represent a possible stage of being. It is fundamentally a music of solitude because, ironically, it lacks the vehicle of a market in a society where market value seems to be the necessary prerequisite for the recognition of anything at all, even the very things that the market inevitably destroys: human and cultural ideals." (59)

That is why it is only the "irrelevant" side of Gould, as Elisabetta Rasy called it, that is made available by the media to North American audiences. His ideas, if understood, would indeed threaten the entire scaffolding of fallacies that govern much of musical education and musical life in North America. I appropriate Gould's term "the tyranny of appraisaldom" (GGR,341) to define the factor that dominates not only institutionalized musical study but the musical world as the students know it. It is a most anti-Gouldian environment, in which the system of appraisals - in applied departments' "juries," in press reviews, in radio programs - determines students' choices and conditions their entire musical perception: "When people who practice an art like music become captives" of the assumptions of the system, Gould told music graduates in 1964, "they put themselves out of reach of that replenishment of invention upon which creative ideas depend."(GGR,5)

Gould's art was immune to acceptance, as Monsaingeon said, (60) and he abhorred the "menace of the competitive idea" with its "emphasis upon consensus" and its power to leave the young "forever stunted." (GGR,225) As Dewey admonished, appraisals and ratings "arrest the perception of those who are influenced" by them. This "obtrusion" by the system "is sign of failure to apprehend and perform the function of becoming a factor in the development of sincere personal experience."(61) And, one may add, of that critical sensibility, discernment, and independent thinking that could help counteract the prevailing cultivation of passivity.
The "tyranny of appraisaldom" has taken such hold in the Canadian cultural environment because of the hidden prejudice that feeds it. Frye described it as a "modified form of mercantilism."(62) It still governs all perception of culture and arts in Canada, and can easily be traced among the entire spectrum of media and institutions.

The notion that university "is not there to reflect society, but to reflect... the reality that lies behind the mirage of social trends" (63) has never seemed in greater opposition to its functioning today. One could very well apply to the teaching in music departments Steiner's comment that, progressively, our "inheritance is caught between the semi-literacy of the mass market and the Byzantine minutiae of the specialist." (64) The clich of "demand" is invoked to justify the ancillary role to market and entertainment that the musical profession has been assuming. To accede to the "demand" is to reverse exactly both Gould's and Frye's central counsel and example. It is, in fact, "to consolidate the level" at which the demand is posed, (65) to ensure that the young hear only their own voice "coming back from the four walls." (66) By not giving priority to the imaginative potential of the uninformed, the development of genuine interaction is obstructed.

In its advertisements, the institution that has appropriated the name Glenn Gould Professional School promises, under the heading "Communication," to teach how to tailor performance "so that it's relevant to your listeners' interests and experience." To be "marketable" has been made into an artistic goal and a desirable aesthetic category.

Canadian music reviewers and radio commentators address themselves solely "to the reflexes" of the listeners, not to their imaginative potential and intelligence. (67) Even in the commendable Sony and CBC releases of Glenn Goulds' recorded legacy, the shift has been from a service to the artist to the "prepackaged selectivity" (68) that best serves the level of perceived demand. As Rattalino pointed out, chronological releases would not only honour the artist but would also favour the "consumer," by helping the listener to approach the artist - to interact with his world and perhaps become a creative "interlocutor."

"It is a community of preoccupations that is most likely to fecundate friendship," writes Bruno Monsaingeon. (69) In this sense, the name "Friends of Glenn Gould" bodes well: a society of "dedicated connoisseurs," serving the artist and his music, and making available to a wide audience the hidden capital of Gould's wisdom, may well be able to perform the task of transforming perceptions.

It is a transformation that is unlikely to happen through academia. Universities continue to seek remedies in new buildings, in "improved" facilities and technology, and in ever greater concessions. In departments of musical performance, more academic requirements are diluted or eliminated, Gould's "competitionitis" flourishes, more career counselling is available, and more grants are awarded. In this regard, I have often paraphrased the question posed by Antoine de Saint-Exupry: I ask to know not whether our students will, or will not be happy, have job security, and achieve success, but rather what kind of musicians we are preparing to be successful, productive, and fulfilled. (70)



In the Spring of 1990, while I was in Bologna, Bruno Monsaingeon's Glenn Gould: No, non sono un eccentrico appeared "with a poster as a bonus." At that time the series of televised programs on Gould was broadcast on the Italian cultural network. Although, as mentioned, it happened in the middle of the night, VCRs did make the series available to many. One is grateful that nowadays a national television still keeps entire series of the finest cultural programs open to anyone; that it still invites the public to come to art and music at its best. It is one of the reasons why in Europe it is still more common than in Canada for the public to be exposed so frequently to radio and television programs on Gould.

In 1995, in Villefranche, during the second term of classes at the Universit canadienne en France, the local TV station was going to broadcast in prime time Monsaingeon's 1983 series on Gould. It seemed the perfect opportunity to have the students attend. There were one hundred and fifty of them from all over Canada, attractive, enterprising young people, who had worked hard for the opportunity to spend a year on the French Riviera. Of the thirty-two who enrolled in my music courses, three had heard the name of Gould, and one knew that he was a pianist.

It would have been ideal, therefore, to have the hypermedia Glenn Gould Profile available as an introduction, since the campus library was equipped with up-to-date computer systems, and the students possessed incredible skills with the technology. ("Is this your first visit?" was the question in the Profile, that helped those who were "overwhelmed with the range of choices available." B.W. Powe and Ghyslaine Guertin were available as "guides" in the system). (71)

In spite of good advertising on the campus, only a couple of students came to watch the telecasts and to hear their compatriot for the first time. There were also opportunities for the students to hear a series of interviews with young Canadian musicians studying in France, which were broadcast over the splendid 24-hour classical music network, France Musique. In the admirable radio-program guide, there were articles and interviews on Canadian performers, all of whom were unknown to the students, and the same was true in the numerous music journals available. The students were encouraged throughout the year to avail themselves of the opportunity to listen to any of the radio programs, with their live and recorded concerts, and their intelligent discourse and interviews - but in vain. It was not a habit they cared to acquire.

As part of the music course, Gould's "The idea of North," was being studied with the help of an excellent outline (created by Prof. Gary Tucker of Mt. Allison University) that made listening a little easier. The concept of polyphony in musical and verbal communication was of course very challenging for that class, and attempts to create together a similar outline for another of Gould's sound documentaries had to be abandoned. Because "The Idea of North" had been commissioned for Canada's Centennial in 1967, the class received some additional information about that year's events in their country. "Expo 67"s French title, Terre des Hommes, had been taken from Saint-Exupry, and...

Inevitably, a student inquired: "Do we have to know that?" "Yes, I said, it is a point of reference - and, since you are now studying here in France, it would be good to know about it, for Canada, for Gould..."


"No, it won't be on the exam"...



(1) Payzant, Geoffrey, Glenn Gould: Music & Mind (Toronto: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1978), 57.

(2) Frye, Northrop, Divisions on a Ground: Essays on Canadian Culture, ed. James Polk (Toronto: Anansi, 1982), 33. The Critical Path: An Essay on the Social Context of Literary Criticism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973), 33.

(3) Berio, Luciano, Two Interviews, with Rossana Dalmonte and Balint Andras Varga, transl. and ed. by David Osmond-Smith (London: Marion Boyars, 1985), 134.

(4) Eco, Umberto, Travels in Hyperreality, transl. William Weaver (San Diego New York London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), ix-x.

(5) Rattalino, Piero, Da Clementi a Pollini: Duecento anni con i grandi pianisti (Firenze: Ricordi/Giunti Martello, 1983), 374-376. . See :"Two Book Chapters on Glenn Gould," by P. Rattalino, Glenn Gould Magazine, 4/1, Spring 1998, 5-18. [Back to Text]

(6) Mila, Massimo, 'I volumi di Zurletti e Rattalino: Fra Abbado e Mozart avanzano gli storici dell'effimero', Tuttolibri, La Stampa, 11, no.464 (Aug.3 1985).

(7) Rattalino, Piero, 'Conferme', Piano Time, 11, no.122 (Nov.1993), 58.

(8) Rattalino, Piero, Grand Piano (I libri di Symphonia, Bologna: Ermitage, 1996), back cover.

(9) Steiner, George, "Glenn Gould's Notes," The New Yorker Nov.23, 1992, 137-141.

(10) Steiner, George, On Difficulty and Other Essays, (Oxford New York Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978), 90.

(11) All these English versions of the term fruitore appear in Renato Barilli: A Course on Aesthetics, transl. Karen E. Pinkus (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). The term fruizione is rendered as "enjoyment." [Back to Text]

(12) Said, Edward W., Musical Elaborations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

(13) A highly praised work of a divulgativa nature, aimed at the non- specialist, is Rattalino, Piero, "Il linguaggio della musica: una guida per i non esperti (con un CD di esempi sonori illustrativi) (Milano: Garzanti, 1997).

(14) Massimo Bogianckino and Giuseppe Sinopoli, respectively.

(15) D'Ettorre, Fabio Renato, review of Autori Vari, La Ciaccona di Bach. Saggio di storia dell'interpretazione (Edizioni Unicopli: [1990 ?]), Piano Time, gVIII, No. 18 (February 1990), 80.

(16) The Glenn Gould Reader, ed. Tim Page (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1984), 345, 348. Hereafter, GGR will be included in the text.

(17) In Mondrian's vision, "la nouvelle plastique se manifestera comme... musique (quand les moyens d'expression en seront trouvs)... se dplacera de plus en plus de l'oeuvre vers sa ralisation dans la ralit palpable... nous n'aurons plus besoin de l'artifice...quand nous vivrons dans l'art ralis!" (Tout l'oeuvre peint de Mondrian, Introd. by Michel Butor, Documentation par Maria Grazia Ottolenghi [Paris: Flammarion, 1976], 11-14). [Back to Text]

(18) Since its inception in the early 1970s, Bologna's DAMS has been considered a sort of creative laboratory, a centre of critical reflection on the world of culture. While in 1989 there were no official courses in the Sociology of Music, the implications of social and mass-media concerns were included in the teaching of individual professors. [Back to Text]

(19) It was brought to my attention that in the Psychology of Arts classes, not offered in 1989-90, Prof. Berlyne's research had been used - oh, did I not know it? But wasn't he at the University of Toronto? [Back to Text]

In general, North American scholarly works are promptly translated and made available to Italian students, and if not, they may be assigned in the original. In the Philosophy of Music course, the semester's textbook, von Helmholtz's tome on the Sensations of Tone (1862), existed only in partial Italian translation. The professor simply distributed copies of the missing chapters from the complete English edition and requested that they be translated by members of the class. And the kids did it, and copies in Italian were made for everyone.

(20) The English edition appeared three years later: Music as Social Text (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991).

(21) Nattiez explains the reason in his Music and Discourse: Toward a Semiology of Music, transl. Carolyn Abbate (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), xi.
While it took nearly twenty years for Nattiez's major work to appear in English (in the United States), I discovered that in Umberto Eco's classes, students had been introduced to essays by Nattiez already in 1972. [Back to Text]

(22) Bollettino, Universit degli Studi di Bologna, IV, No.6 (June 1989), 18-19.

(23) "Numerous Canadian poets, novelists, playwrights, artists, and critics' spoke at this event (Bollettino), 19.

(24) Glenn Gould's SOLITUDE TRILOGY: Three Sound Documentaries, CBC Records - Perspective (1992), liner notes.

(25) The four-part series, was sponsored by DAMS Musica and by Musica/Media, a group of students from both the Music department and the Institute of Communication. Philip Tagg, Simon Frith, and Franco Fabbri were the other participants.

(26) "Alma Mater Studiorum," Rivista scientifica dell'Universita di Bologna II, No.2 (1989), 135, 127.

(27) "Alma Mater Studiorum," 136. (Galassia Gutenberg is the name given to a publishers' and multimedia exhibition and fair that takes place annually in Southern Italy.)

(28) Godfrey, Stephen, "Plugging into Gould's Legacy," Globe and Mail, October 20, 1990.

(29) Vettese, Angela, Il Sole - 24 Ore, January 25, 1998.

(30) Godfrey, Ibid.

(31) Said, Edward W., "Remembrances of Things Played: Presence and Memory in the Pianist's Art,"Harper's (November 1985), 69-75.

(32) In a speech given in the early 1970s at our school (UWO).

(33) According to Godfrey, the Profile was developed by YYIATS Productions in Montreal in association with the Banff Centre's Media Arts Program. At the Toronto conference, the Banff Centre and the Canadian Music Centre exhibited the Glenn Gould Profile (by Henry See, B.W.Powe, Ghyslaine Guertin, 1989, unpublished) within the series of programs Machine Mind Music: Realizing the Musical/Technological Vision of Glenn Gould. [Back to Text]

(34) "Expertise in interactive media" is now offered in the technology program of the Glenn Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Advertising brochure [1996]

(35) Rattalino, Piero, "Glenn Gould in insalata capricciosa," MUSICA: Interpreti Video & Compact Disc, 13, no.59 (Dec.1989-Jan.1990), 12-19.
This vision of Canada is placed in contrast to the eternal problems of Italy's inefficient centralization. During my stay in Bologna there occurred the students' "occupation" of the university, which lasted several weeks. Calling themselves Damsterdamned, the students marched and assembled and debated, denouncing the ancient, grotesque regulations, the absurd bureaucratic obstacles of the system. Just one example: the music library at DAMS had been closed for the past two years, and the brief opening hours of other departments' libraries coincided with those of certain courses, including Eco's seminars! (In 1983 Umberto Eco gave his audience in Milan a wonderful, witty, description of one of the world's "ideal" libraries, the University Library in Toronto. See Umberto Eco, "De Biblioteca," in The Wild Is Always There: Canada Through the Eyes of Foreign Writers, ed. Greg Gatenby [Toronto: Vintage Books, 1993], 427-30. [Back to Text]

(36) "Excavating the Latest Gould Mine Yields Few Nuggets," Globe and Mail, August 14, 1993. The recent CBC series of Gould historical releases likewise eshews the chronological order of the performances. [Back to Text]

(37) Said, Edward W., "Remembrances of Things Played," 74.

(38) Powe, B.W., The Solitary Outlaw: Trudeau, Lewis, Gould, Canetti, McLuhan (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1987), 164

(39) Friedrich, Otto, Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989), 146. [Back to Text]

At the Piano Academy in Imola in early 1990, I attended an extremely comprehensive Mozart workshop by Rattalino that was centred on the aspects of teatralita. It was Alfredo Casella who first provided our generation with this concept, in the preface to his Ricordi edition of Mozart's Piano Sonatas, stressing the import of operatic articulation, allusions, and characterization in Mozart's style in general.

(40) Ibid., 105-107.

(41) Distler, Jed, "Gould Unspliced,?" IPQ International Piano Quarterly, No.2 (Winter 1997), 72-80. Brahms, Concerto No.1 in D minor, op.15: Melodram 234 (New York), Music and Arts CD 297 (Baltimore).

(42) Del Buono, Oreste, "E un mito del piano? Allora va punito," Diario TV, Corriere della Sera, June 10, 1990.

(43) Rasy, Elisabetta, "Sul piano della leggenda," Panorama, March 15, 1987, 104-111.

(44) --------------- "L'eco delle voci," La Stampa (Tuttolibri XVII, August 1992, 6.

(45) Barthes, Roland, The Grain of the Voice: Interviews 1962-1980 transl. by Lydia Coverdale (New York: Hill and Wang, 1985), 3.

(46) Le Naour, Michel, "Gould, Glenn (piano, orgue)," Le Monde de la Musique, No. 216 (December 1997), 109.

(47) Monsaingeon, Bruno, "The Last Puritan," Glenn Gould Variations - By Himself and His Friends, ed. with an Introduction by John McGreevy (Toronto: Doubleday, 1983), 300.

(48) Nattiez, Jean-Jacques, "Gould singulier: Structure et atemporalit dans la pense gouldienne," in Glenn Gould pluriel, ed. Ghyslaine Guertin (Verdun, Quebec: Louise Courteau, ditrice, 1988), 81.

(49) Da Clementi a Pollini, 376
In his 1981 Conversation with Tim Page, Gould dismissed Chopin as not a very good composer, saying that he "never bothered to play any more Chopin" (GGR, 453).

(50) Frye, Northrop, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), XX.

(51) Steiner, George, On Difficulty and Other Essays, 202.

(52) ------- Glenn Gould Notes, 139.

(53) Frye, Northrop, Divisions on a Ground, 185.

(54) Payzant, Geoffrey, Glenn Gould: Music & Mind, 50c.

(55) Another point of reference with which I was already equipped when I arrived in Canada was the work of "O'Flaherty," about whom we read after the war when we discovered film "documentaries." To know about his 1920s Nanook of the North, gave us and idea of the presence of a Far North, besides that of a Far West.
Robert Flaherty, the first white man some of the "Eskimos" had ever seen, also took photographs, some of which were exhibited in Toronto in 1994; one is "of a laughing Inuit man listening to the sound of a gramophone" (Kate Taylor, "Into the Heart of Whiteness," Globe and Mail, Febr. 26, 1994). [Back to Text]

(56 ) The equipment that had been used at the Expo 67 Czech Pavilion was being donated to the Film department of this enterprise; McMaster University was ready to provide courses in Shakespearian studies, the Faculty of Music at Western those in music. It would have been a sort of small Canadian DAMS. But for reasons of geographical proximity, the provincial government denied support for the creation of a new school. [Back to Text]

(57) Gould's presence in the musical programs at nearby Stratford (in the early 1960s) created expectations of continued high-level music making in the London area. Later there came another figure, a not so "solitary outlaw," a prime minister [Trudeau] who spent time in Stratford, living on a train, attending concerts with his music scores, consorting with actor friends, and displaying his somersaults in the quarry at St. Marys.... Exhilarating. Cultural context and irreverence made the idea of Canada most attractive. [Back to Text]

(58) It is interesting that in 1961 Gould's performed in a televised "comedy routine for children," in a series called "Parade." Friedrich, Otto, Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations, 391. [Back to Text]

(59) Berio, Luciano, Two Interviews, 56. The term interlocutore is used only in the Italian edition.

(60) Monsaingeon, Bruno, Glenn Gould: Variations, 298.

(61) Dewey, John, Art as Experience (New York: Capricorn Books, 1958), 324-25.

(62) Frye, Northrop, Divisions on a Ground, 29.

(63) Ibid. 155.

(64) Steiner, George, On Difficulty, 194.

(65) Frye, Northrop, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), XX.

(66) ---- Divisions on a Ground, 151.

(67) ---- The Well-Tempered Critic (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1967), 42.

(68) Steiner, G., On Difficulty, 197.

(69) Monsaingeon, B., in Glenn Gould: Variations, 298.

(70) "La question que je me pose n'est point de savoir si l'homme, oui ou non, sera heureux, prospre et commodement abrit. Je me demande d'abord quel homme sera prospre, abrit et heureux". Saint-Exupry, A. de, Citadelle, (France: Gallimard, 1948), 95.[Back to Text]

(71) Godfrey, Stephen, Ibid.



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