THE SUBJECT OF Gould's relationship to recording technology is a large and complex one, and has been discussed at length by Gould himself and others.1 Among classical performers, he was widely known by the 1960s as the greatest proponent of the electronic media--of studio recording, radio and television broadcasting, and film. He was, in Denis Dutton's words, 'the closest thing we have to a philosopher of music recording'.2 He was also a leading opponent of live performance, and of the music most appropriate to the concert hall. He felt that concert performance should no longer be the standard of musical behaviour in the late twentieth century. His views on the advantages of recording and the disadvantages of concert performance are well documented, and need not be rehearsed in detail. Relevant here are those aspects of recording technology that directly influenced his performance practices, for he used technology as a way of extending the range of interpretations available to him as a performer, to transcend the limitations of conventional piano performance.
Gould's interest in recording began in his youth, with private recordings on the relatively crude home equipment of the 1940s and 1950s, and grew with his early broadcasting for the CBC.3 In an internal CBC questionnaire from 1952, the 19- year-old Gould already made a strong statement in favour of recording and broadcasting and against live performance: 'the concentration on purely musical detail', which 'is of utmost importance for any performance', is 'much easier to achieve when there is no need to feel responsibility for the visual pleasure of the listener'.4 Despite his early interest in technology, his interpretations did not immediately show the influence of it, but there was a noticeable development in his appropriation of technology in those recordings made after his retirement from concert life in 1964. As he noted in a 1980 CBC radio broadcast, his early record____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Glenn Gould:The Performer in the Work: A Study in Performance Practice. Contributors: Kevin Bazzana - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 238.