Wednesday, 27 July 2016


What better way to celebrate Unraveling Musical Myths 100th blog posting than with an in-depth look back at the fascinating, romantic and tortured life and accomplishments of my hometown hero, Toronto-born pianist Glenn Gould?

Unraveling Musical Myths celebrates it's 100th Post with many thanks to the reader for your continued interest in this blog and extending a warm
welcome to all new visitors! Enjoy your stay - there is much to read and discover! -Rose.

Gould holds a very special place among my personal catalogue of most revered musicians – not just for the maestros innovative, mesmerizing and highly idyllic interpretations of Bach’s masterworks (in which the immensely skilled pianist indulged in the multi–textured polyphonic stylings of the king of the Baroque), but also for the fact that the Canadian pianist’s prolific output was constructed as he fought against the tyranny of OCD[1] – a highly inhibiting disorder with which I am intimately familiar - along with the pianists’ disconnect and discomfort felt alongside success and burgeoning fame, and in both Gould’s contempt for and desire to change an entire industry.

I consider the accomplishments and the steadfast command of self employed by Gould whilst battling this most grievous ailment to be nothing short of heroic. When Gould turned his back on celebratory social gatherings and on public performance and its resulting mob-like fanatics, hailing it (and fame in general) and audiences “en masse” to be “hideous” in the early 1960’s, it was not a decision made by the maestro to bow out from performing altogether (as Gould’s curious choice had initially been perceived by a demanding and perplexed audience) but rather to fine tune his compulsions by turning his attention to the burgeoning industry of recording/broadcasting, wherein the idyllic pianist could reach unforeseen heights of perfectionism in his craft.

Gould’s retreat toward the confines of a recording studio would be most fateful for the pianist and would unwittingly catapult the troubled genius into the realm of most influential musicians of all time.

Presented below is Unraveling Musical Myths' inaugural DOCUMENTARY OF THE MONTH: The Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

This 1 hour, 49 minute retrospective showcases the tortuous dichotomy between one man's inherent “madness” and his undeniably explosive genius, and provides valuable insight for the viewer / budding psychology major what it is like for a sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and it’s various resulting anxiety-related disorders).

Discover in the fine documentary below a most beastly battle against an unseen assailant - which is ultimately triumphed by a dogged sense of self, stalwart perseverance and a universal understanding of the permeative powers of music to infiltrate ones mind and soothe the aching soul.

“I believe that the only excuse we have for being musicians and for making music in any fashion is to make it differently, to perform it differently, to establish the music’s difference vis-à-vis our own difference.
I couldn’t imagine a life in which I would not be surrounded by music. Which shelters you from the world. Which protects you and which keeps you at a certain distance from the world - because I think that the only advantage that any artist has and I think that any artist can really write about, and all artists do write about it whether they know it or not, is that distance from the world.

I do realize it and I know that I obtain it through media. And I know that I would have been very unhappy as a 19th century man."
- Glenn Gould.

DISCOVER MORE: (internal link):
  • Prolific musicians/composers/librettists who suffered from a wide range of mental illness, including varying degrees of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at unravelingmusicalmyths
[1] SEE American Journal of Psychiatry to learn more about OCD.


1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Gould had OCD. I do too. Great article and thank you for writing!