A Fantasy, famous for 296 years…
Warning to students: DO NOT COPY THE PHYSICAL HABITS OF THIS MAN!!!
Glenn Gould was without doubt one of the most controversial and neurotic human beings ever to play the piano. His tics and odd habits were famous, and when he recorded he insisted on humming, which drove sound engineers nuts. He insisted on conducting himself. His mouth moved. He sat too low. His posture was horrible. About 50% of everything he did physically was not only unnecessary, it was also very bad for his health. He died at age 50.
But he was a genius, and many people think his playing of Bach was as interesting or more interesting than any other interpreters. I would agree that at his best he towered above most other players.
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue
Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue was written between 1717 and 1723. This is the Fantasy. There are many other good recordings, but this one is both highly interesting and iconic. If you know enough music that came much later you can hear in this modulations and chromaticism that was later used by everyone from Liszt to Wagner to Rachmaninov, to Bill Evans and to John Williams – and in a huge number of more inventive pop tunes.