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Edited by Tim Page. Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys.cl984.475pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-88619-080-0. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Gary Robertson

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

The late Glenn Gould was not only a great pianist, he was a gifted and articulate music critic. His writings are a panorama of rich images and compelling insights into the musical lives of the masters. The reader should be cautioned though, for Gould is a demanding and infuriating writer who challenges one to respond, to argue back, to prove him wrong.

Gould is at his provocative best with statements such as these: on Strauss, "he lapsed into a drought of inspiration which was terminated only by his death"; on Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, "that motoric monstrosity", on Bach's B Minor Mass, "insoluable if not indeed unperformable"; on Morart's G Minor Symphony, ". . . consists of eight remarkable measures surrounded by a half-hour of banality." These and many more are meant to make the reader react.

The importance of this book is really the analytical clarity with which Gould writes of music and musicians. He ranges from Byrd, Gibbons, through Scarlatti, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven to Scribin, Hindemith, and his favourite, Arnold Schoenberg. He discusses critics, audiences, electronics, studio recordings, and himself in honest, if colourful terms. His musical criticism and his literary flair are of the highest level.

The Glenn Gould Reader is a beautiful collection of over seventy short writings from his magazine articles, record reviews, books, and liner notes from records. It makes enjoyable, stimulating reading to any serious music listener or performer.

Gary Robertson. Thom C. I., Regina, Sask.
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