Today would be the birthday of a musician who's nearly up there, for me, with john lennon and john coltrane. like them, he was a force of nature, complicated personally, and a man who left so much music behind i've listen to him every week -- sometimes every day -- for years.
part of what first interested me about pianist glenn gould (1932-82) is that he was a classical musician who rockers, literati, bohos and generalist intellectuals seemed to like: there are depths to him, for sure, but you did not have to understand the harmonic theory behind "the well-tempered clavier" to respond to its velocity and intellectual force.
i've also found, especially in my younger days, gould's treatment of bach to be the best hangover medicine i know.
HERE is my piece, "the cult of gould," from the LATimes. my goal was to round up people who loved gould from outside the classical world, so i found filmmaker john waters, the actress who played Flo on "Alice," and jazz musicians brad mehldau and jason moran. critic time page served as a kind of guide to the piece. (somehow i executed this piece without including a single canadian, which seems wrong.)
moran provided my favorite detail in the story: he went to see "thirty two short films about glenn gould," with a young woman he fancied. when she decided gould was too weird for her, he could never look at her the same way. it was all over between then.