Today would have been Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s 83rd birthday. While we’re all revisiting the Goldberg Variations and contemplating the meaning of Glenn Gould, it seemed like a good time to remember the lighter side of this quirky and remarkable artist.
Perceived by some as shy and stand offish, Gould allowed parts of his personality to shine through alter egos. For A Glenn Gould Fantasy, Gould invited some “friends” to join in a discussion with Margaret Pascu. These “friends” include alter egos Sir Nigel Twitt-Thorwaite, Dr. Kahlheniz Klopweisser and Theodore Slutz.
Gould was known for his erratic driving and in 1958, he ended up in court in Beaverton Ontario for skidding into a truck. Gould once said of his driving “I suppose it can be said that I’m an absent-minded driver… It’s true that I’ve driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I’ve stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.”
Gould’s eating habits were erratic and often tied to his hypochondria. According to the Glenn Gould Foundation one place that he did eat was Fran’s Restaurant in Toronto. The food was plain, something that Gould appreciated and Fran’s was located near both his apartment on St. Claire and The Eaton’s auditorium (now the Carlu) where he made many of his recordings.
In an article in High Fidelity in 1976 Gould wrote:
“For me, the Streisand voice is one of the natural wonders of the age, an instrument of infinite diversity and timbral resource. It is not, to be sure, devoid of problem areas—which is an observation at least as perspicacious as the comment that a harpsichord is not a piano or, if you insist, vice versa.”
Gould was known for his extreme love of animals and pets. Gould was very close to his family’s pets including their dogs: Banquo, Buddy and Sir Nickolson of Garelocheed (aka Nicky). His love of animals stretched further, to farm and animals and beyond. His father recounted: “He liked to sing to the cows. As a child at the cottage … he’d strike off on a bicycle. … So I’d take the car and maybe find him five miles away on the side of the road. And one day I came along and he was singing to a bunch of cows. They were all lined up inside the fence.”
[Related: Glenn Gould: Animated GIFs]