Monday, 3 July 2017

The intensity of Glenn Gould

I just today came across a 2005 movie about Glenn Gould, which I hadn't seen before:

And it made me reflect yet again on the part that this musician has played in my own life - arriving, as he did, when I was aged 19; and just as I began to become more-and-more alienated (more cut-off in my-self, and from perception and memory) - from getting older, being away from family, living a more superficial life, spending time alone, in a city, and moving towards a round-hole that I did not fit...

For me Gould represented intensity. The ideal of living with such intensity - of living in intensity - that all problems were solved. Intensity of living (whether in listening to Gould play Bach, or some other musician or music of similar intensity) - or in personal relationships (but not very often)... did indeed solve the problem of alienation, while on-going.

But I never, over several years of trying, integrated this with my 'working' life - I was too feeble of will, got lonely too easily - or bored; plus of course it was impossible...

Gould himself experienced intensity more often and more powerfully than most people - but still very intermittently: much of his life was dissipation, time-filling (just like mine).

In the end, being a musicia of genius and having near-complete control over his life was grossly-insufficient, because he was up-against the limits of the human being, and of the human condition.

This did not mean that Gould was as adrift as my young adult self; because, I was unaware that Gould was a religious man with a profound conviction of life everlasting. For me, mortal life was everything, and when (not if) we failed to live well then that was It; but for Gould this life was a prelude leading on to wondrous and eternal fugues!...


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