Glenn Gould, 1974
Bruno Monsaingeon, film director
A brilliant Glenn Gould takes us into the world of his favourite composers.
You know the Russian dolls, things within things, within other things? Here is a fine example: we look at Glenn Gould looking at The Anatomy of the Fugue, a programme he devised for television and for which he wrote a fugue with four voices the text of which says “Do you want to write a fugue?”… Glenn Gould loves this sort of intellectual house of cards of which he has become a master. “I like music in the form of a puzzle”, he says in 1974, the film where he takes us into a fascinating discussion on Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, the masters of the Second Viennese School.
In 1974, the pianist who lives in Toronto, for European connoisseurs, is no more than a distant legend. He stopped playing in concert at thirty-two, ten years previously, and his records are unobtainable in France. Monsaingeon discovers him in 1966 when he buys a record in Moscow on which is written "Bach Inventions" and the name of the pianist which sounds vaguely familiar to him. It’s a revelation!
This vinyl, paid for in roubles, marks the start of a fantastic adventure: a letter sent to the Canadian pianist like a bottle in the ocean, an answer six months later with an invitation to come to Toronto, then in 1974, a film articulated around four parts is shot and finally a television broadcast. On November 30th, 1974, the evening when the first episode is scheduled (La retraite), an event occurs that is rich in consequences: a strike at the ORTF. Forced to broadcast something to provide a minimum service, the three public channels show this first film at the same time. A few days later, the record stock is exhausted and the Gould phenomenon is born. A phenomenon that still raises questions today.In "1974 », the third part of the film by Monsaingeon, Glenn Gould sketches a clear and coherent panorama of the Second Viennese School, dotted with brilliant phrases of his own invention: “Schoenberg, a biblical colossus declaiming prophecies”, “Webern, the Samuel Becket of music”, “Berg, a Viennese café neurotic aesthete “… And of course, he illustrates his words on the piano by offering us the Variations Op. No. 27 by Webern and a dazzling Sonata for Piano Op. No. 1 by Berg.
Duration : 36 min
Recording date : 1974
Production date : 1974-2002
Production : © INA
Available version(s) : VOST FR