Wondrous Strange

Wondrous Strange : The Life and Art of Glenn Gould

4.21 (153 ratings by Goodreads)
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When Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto in 1974, he admitted that he knew only three things about Canada: It had great hockey teams, a lot of wheatfields, and Glenn Gould.
In Wondrous Strange, Kevin Bazzana vividly recaptures the life of Glenn Gould, one of the most celebrated pianists of our time. Drawing on twenty years of intensive research, including unrestricted access to Gould's private papers and interviews with scores of friends and colleagues, many of them never interviewed before, Bazzana sheds new light on such topics as Gould's family history, his secretive sexual life, and the mysterious problems that afflicted his hands in his later years. The author places Gould's distinctive traits--his eccentric interpretations, his garish onstage demeanor, his resistance to convention--against the backdrop of his religious, upper- middle-class Canadian childhood, illuminating the influence of Gould's mother as well as the lasting impact of the only piano teacher Gould ever had. Bazzana offers a fresh appreciation of Gould's concert career--his high-profile but illness-plagued international tours, his adventurous work for Canadian music festivals, his musical and legal problems with Steinway & Sons. In 1964, Gould made the extraordinary decision to perform only for records, radio, television, and film, a turning point that the author examines with unprecedented thoroughness (discussing, for example, his far-seeing interest in new recording technology). Here, too, are Gould's interests away from the piano, from his ambitious but failed effort to be a composer to his innovative brand of "contrapuntal radio."
Richly illustrated with rare photographs, Wondrous Strange is a superbly written account of one of the most memorable and accomplished musicians of our times.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 35.56mm | 839.14g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0195182464
  • 9780195182460
  • 82,885

Review quote

"Obviously a must for any fan of this great pianist, but it is more than that: Kevin Bazzana deserves all praise for producing a study worthy of its subject--expertly paced, admiring yet sensible, touched with wit and intensely readable."--Washington Post Book World "Gripping.... This book is a model of what a thoughtful assessment of a major artist and his work can be: coherent, complete, fair, and above all readable."--The Washington Times "Marvelously readable.... Bazzana removes the mystification, clarifying not only Gould's drive and musical taste, but also what came to be regarded as his eccentricities." --Toronto Star "It's difficult to imagine anyone doing a better job of writing the life story of Glenn Gould than Kevin Bazzana has done in Wondrous Strange.... This superlative biography covers all the important, and many of the trivial, aspects of the Canadian pianist's relatively brief life, drawing a definitive picture of an unusual musician. --Chicago Tribune
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About Kevin Bazzana

Kevin Bazzana, Ph. D., is a freelance writer, editor, and lecturer. He is the author of Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work, a study of Gould as pianist and interpreter.
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Rating details

153 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 41% (63)
4 43% (66)
3 12% (19)
2 3% (4)
1 1% (1)
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