I’m Singing the Praises…

September 9, 2007 @ 6:01 pm | Filed under:

Pianoman
…of Mama Squirrel. Look what’s playing in the Treehouse: a music study on pianist Glenn Gould, with emphasis on his Bach performances.

I showed the post to Scott and asked if he thought we should tag along, so to speak.

"Oh, absolutely!" he replied without missing a beat. (A beat, get it? I’m so very musical.) Scott’s the classical (and other kinds of) music buff of the family, and I usually look to him for suggestions on what pieces of music to play (over and over and over—that’s the sum total of our "music appreciation" method) for the children.

(No, wait, I guess there’s more to it than just listening to the music—we also listen hungrily to the interesting stories Scott tells about the composers and performers. All those evenings when I’m nose-deep in educational philosophy? He’s reading musicians’ biographies.)

"I’m kind of psyched to see some of those Gould performances myself," he added, still scanning Mama Squirrel’s list.

He says Gould is interesting to listen to, because he often hummed along—not in tune!—as he played. I’m intrigued. And also eager to hear all that Bach. I love Bach. Listening to Bach is like what St. Francis said about singing: It’s praying—twice.

(Scott just looked over my shoulder and told me—wait, say it again, honey, I’m taking dictation—that when Gould played Bach he didn’t use the sustain pedal, so it sounded very dry and crisp, like the harpsichord. And also! Rumor has it that his mother introduced him to the composers in chronological order, so he became intimately acquainted first with the Baroque, and then the Classical, and then the Romantic, and then the Modern composers, as opposed to the scattershot method most of us in this century are used to where we probably heard Mozart before Bach, or Tchaikovsky before—oh shoot, that’s as far as I can remember, and Scott just left for Mass. Ah well. You get his drift. See what I mean? Fascinating!)

So there’s that plan. Gould and Bach. :::rubs hands together briskly::: Gosh, thanks, Mama Squirrel!

(Another terrific resource for classical music studies is Helen over at Castle of the Immaculate. We rode the wave of her Elgar study last year. Oh! I still get goosebumps at the thought of that cello concerto played by Jacqueline du Pre!)


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Comments

9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. JoVE says:

    I just got information about a museum exhibition about Gould. Details can be found here

    http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/gould/goulde.html

    I haven’t searched it much but there may be interesting things there.

  2. Alice Gunther says:

    Great post, and many thanks to Scott for the interesting information!

  3. Helen (MaryVitamin) says:

    Thanks Lissa!
    We’ve watched several of the Gould DVD’s and enjoyed them.

  4. Mama Squirrel says:

    Gosh, thanks for the nice mention–and I’m thrilled that you’re going to be listening (and watching) along with us. I wasn’t sure how well Glenn Gould was even known in the U.S.!

  5. Mr. Karen Edmisten says:

    At the end of an especialy chaotic day, I will sometimes put on the Gould recording of the Goldberg Variations, and the effect is absolutely cathartic, away goes much of my stress.

  6. Meredith from Merchant Ships says:

    I have to say I’ve never heard of him (Gould, not Bach!). We’re musically deficient in our house, thanks to my lack of knowledge, but it’s nice to know we can all learn it together.

    Doesn’t Mama Squirrel have the best suggestions?

  7. Karen Edmisten says:

    Hey, we’re listening to Bach this month, too, and we had Glenn Gould on a couple days ago (I see my better half has already been here and mentioned the Goldberg Variations ….)

  8. A.C. says:

    I have a groovy musical guy, too! He has a degree in Vocal Music Education and is an absolute fountain of information. Hooray for Helpful Husbands!

  9. sarah says:

    oh, I’m chuckling at the “when I’m knee-deep in educational philosophy he’s reading musicians’ biographies” comment. I can relate. I’m ALWAYS knee (waist, neck, way-over-my-head…) deep in educational philosophy of some sort or other and my husband (a piano professor) loves biographies (musicians’ and others, too). Your house at night sounds a lot like my own in this respect…

    thanks for the heads-up about mama squirrel—we love gould around here (he’s my husband’s favorite).