Behold an amazing clip of Glenn Gould playing the first portion of Bach’s Piano Concerto 1 (in D Minor, kids) accompanied by the New York Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein conducting. The opening five or so minutes consists of a lecture–very well done–by Lenny discussing the lack of indication in Bach’s music as to how to approach the piece dynamically (Bach’s music contained almost no markings other than the notes and the occasional ‘piano’ symbol). Lenny compares this with interpreting Shakespeare whose texts are similarly devoid of specific stage directions, character descriptions etc. Lenny is in fine form–articulate, forceful and dashingly erudite. But of course it’s Glenn who steals the show as he sits, hunched in his miniature chair (made for him by his father) with his left leg crossed over his right while he plays, hums, gesticulates and altogether loses himself in the rapture of the music. As a pianist myself (jazz, not classical) I’ve been experimenting with some of Glenn’s odd techniques and I must say that sitting with the leg crossed while playing, as well as holding the head close to the keyboard when playing quietly, really does make a huge difference. I don’t have the low chair however. That chair allows Glenn’s left leg to reach the sustain pedal, which mine can’t. But this is a good thing for me, as I’ve always abused the sustain pedal by using it far too much (it hides a lot of sin) and my enforced seperation from it via Glenn’s leg-cross method is quite refreshing and challenging. Thanks, pal!


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