I love watching this performance of Glenn Gould, not only because I adore the piece of music (Sarabande of Bach’s Partitas nr 4, BWV828), its polyphonic musical beauty; equally because I enjoy listening to a pianist who plays the music beyond himself, and the composer. If I take the liberty to guess, a musician reaches a stage that there is not much “technical” interpretations which challenge him, but rather music itself becomes his self-imposed dialogue with his inner self, even beyond the composer of the music. Perhaps it is more about an indulgence, an experiment, self reflection and interrogation (how to sing the music, pause; how to ask and respond…). Gould was fully enjoying himself, who was still looking for something from the piece; well I am sharing a part of his enjoyment. Oddly, in fact I am less and less interested in pure technical emphasis (without much emotion) of some musicians, a certain niche seems to feed me better.
Yesterday evening I thought of Gould’s performance, was when I read a bit of art history, which stated a brief “legend” as such: “”Tu peins sale, Alberto!” (You dirty rotten painter, Alberto!), the Letterist Gabriel Pomerand passed Alberto Giacometti in the street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in May 1954, he cried out half in jest and half in derision …” (source : reported in Jean-Paul Aron, in Aron 1984 p.105). Perhaps in later life of Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) (sculptor and painter), his works were mostly considered as colourless, grimy, boring; anyway not “sufficient” to feed the common taste of the majority public. Perhaps same for Gould, when most people remember him as a legendary exuberant young pianist. To me, I thought the most exciting part of Gould was in fact his last years of musical revelations … same for Giacometti, his permanent search for truth in his art was much exemplified in his late works and philosophy. Another commonality of these two artists, is perhaps their pursuits of art were not for pleasing the general audience.
“It’s terrible: The longer one works on a picture, the more impossible it becomes to finish it.” ~ Alberto Giacometti talked to James Lordin in 1964