Previous page         Next page


Funny Anecdotes 藝人軼事

Glenn Gould on his eccentricities




Glenn Herbert Gould (1932 – 1982) was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency and capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bach’s music.


Gould was widely known for his unusual habits. He usually hummed while he played the piano, and his recording engineers had mixed results in how successfully they were able to exclude his voice from recordings.


Gould claimed that his singing was subconscious and increased proportionately with the inability of the piano in question to realize the music as he intended. It is likely that this habit originated in Gould's having been taught by his mother to "sing everything that he played", as Kevin Bazzana puts it. This became "an unbreakable (and notorious) habit". Some of Gould's recordings were severely criticised because of the background "vocalise". For example, a reviewer of his 1981 re-recording of the Goldberg Variations opined that many listeners would "find the groans and croons intolerable".


Gould was renowned for his peculiar body movements while playing and for his insistence on absolute control over every aspect of his playing environment. The temperature of the recording studio had to be exactly regulated. He invariably insisted that it be extremely warm. According to Friedrich, the air conditioning engineer had to work just as hard as the recording engineers. The piano had to be set at a certain height and would be raised on wooden blocks if necessary. A small rug would sometimes be required for his feet underneath the piano.He had to sit fourteen inches above the floor and would play concerts only while sitting on the old chair his father had made. He continued to use this chair even when the seat was completely worn through. His chair is so closely identified with him that it is shown in a place of honour in a glass case at the National Library of Canada.

Gould was averse to cold, and wore heavy clothing (including gloves), even in warm places. He was once arrested, presumably mistaken for a vagrant, while sitting on a park bench in Sarasota, Florida, dressed in his standard all-climate attire of coat, warm hat, and mittens.


He also disliked social functions. He hated being touched, and in later life he limited personal contact, relying on the telephone and letters for communication. On one visit to Steinway Hall in New York City in 1959, the chief piano technician at the time, William Hupfer, greeted Gould by giving him a slap on the back. Gould was shocked by this, and complained of aching, lack of coordination, and fatigue because of the incident. He went on to explore the possibility of litigation against Steinway & Sons if his apparent injuries were permanent.He was known for cancelling performances at the last minute, which is why Bernstein's above-mentioned public disclaimer opens with, "Don't be frightened, Mr. Gould is here... will appear in a moment."
In his liner notes and broadcasts, Gould created more than two dozen alter egos for satirical, humorous, or didactic purposes, permitting him to write hostile reviews or incomprehensible commentaries on his own performances. Probably the best-known are the German musicologist "Karlheinz Klopweisser", the English conductor "Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite", and the American critic "Theodore Slutz". These facets of Gould, whether interpreted as neurosis or "play", have provided ample material for psychobiography.
Fran's Restaurant in Toronto was a regular haunt of Gould's. A CBC profile noted, "sometime between two and three every morning, Gould would go to Fran's, a 24-hour diner a block away from his Toronto apartment, sit in the same booth, and order the same meal of scrambled eggs.
It has been debated whether or not Gould was autistic, or, more accurately, if his mind fell within the autism spectrum. The diagnosis was first suggested by psychiatrist Peter Ostwald, a friend of Gould's, in the 1997 book, Glenn Gould: The Ecstasy and Tragedy of Genius.It has been disputed by, among others, Kevin Bazzana


格伦·赫伯特·顧尔德1932- 1982加拿大的钢琴家他是20世纪最有名的古典钢琴家之一他特别被誉为巴赫键盘音乐解释他的演奏具有显着的技术熟练程度能力,以表达巴赫的音乐和弦纹理










他终生未婚。他对孤独与隔离特别感兴趣,曾为加拿大广播公司制作有关加拿大北部地区的“实验广播剧”《孤独三部曲》(Solitude Trilogy),反映孤独与隔离对人所产生的影响。他说自己是最后一个清教徒(the last puritan)。






有医学家怀疑顾尔德有亚斯伯格综合症(Asperger's Syndrome),这种病被认为是一种自闭症(Autism)。他们的理由是,顾尔德的各种古怪行为,例如:演奏前在热水里浸泡双手及手臂,演奏时奇异的行为,他的与世隔绝以及社交障碍,在音乐上表现出来的极度专注,以及难以解释的高超技巧,都有可能与这种病有关联。也有医学家对此种观点持反对意见。