A privileged look into the life of a solitary artist with an extraordinary gift for communicating art to everyone.
Glenn Gould (1932-1982) was a giant of twentieth-century classical music, but one whose eccentricities have sometimes obscured the moral seriousness of his approach to art. Countering this common misperception, Partita for Glenn Gould is an eloquent tribute to the artist that illuminates his versatile genius, his thinking, and our reasons for loving his art.
In a work inspired by Gould's cherished interpretation of Bach's Partitas, Georges Leroux associates each of the seven musical movements with a theme: the shape of a life, the paradoxes of genius, the relationship to the body, the role of writing and reading, solitude and the urge to communicate, and the connections between both aesthetics and biography, and biography and spirituality. The result is a clear and insightful portrait of a life that was simultaneously minimalist and rich, withdrawn and eager to communicate.
Thoughtful and inspiring, Partita for Glenn Gould is a remarkable exploration of the musician's life and art, and an invitation to see how it is possible to follow in his footsteps.
256 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5
Formats: Cloth, eBook
"In an essay at once learned and personal, comprehensive and concise, Georges Leroux moves freely among the multifarious issues raised by Glenn Gould's life, personality, ideas, and work, offering original, sometimes provocative insights on even the most familiar Gouldian themes. Leroux gives welcome emphasis to the contradictions and paradoxes that made Gould such a fascinating figure, and his meditations on authenticity, genius, solitude, asceticism, and other pertinent topics are nourished by his wide reading in philosophy, literature, and the arts." Kevin Bazzana, author of Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work and Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
"In the end, Leroux raises as many questions as he seeks to answer - another glorious paradox - but it is undeniably a most stimulating read." Julian Haylock, International Piano
"Leroux's modesty shines through: he reveres Gould, but there is little sense of propriety, of snaring the inevitable elusiveness of genius. In other words, he does not pretend to own Gould by offering the definitive take on his art and philosophy ... Leroux sits back and admires a great creator/interpreter, is moved to create something of his own, and kind enough to let us join him for the intellectual ride." American Review of Canadian Studies
"There are many penetrating observations to be savoured in this thought-provoking study... It is, in effect, a glowing appreciation of Gould’s genius that seeks to find a strand of psychological connectivity underlying even his most apparently eccentric behaviour... undeniably a most stimulating read." Julian Haylock, International Piano Magazine
Georges Leroux is a professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
Preface to the English Edition ~ vii
Acknowledgments ~ ix
Præludium Overture Partita no. 1 in B flat Major ~ 3
Toccata Art and a Life’s Shape
Partita no. 6 in E Minor ~ 19
Allemande The Paradoxes of Genius
Partita no. 2 in C Minor ~ 52
Courante The Hands of Gould, the Body of Glenn
Partita no. 3 in A Minor ~ 90
Air and Sarabande To Read, to Write, to Dream
Partita no. 6 in E Minor ~ 119
Sinfonia The Importance of Being Alone
Partita no. 2 in C Minor ~ 144
Scherzo Music and a Life’s Shape
Partita no. 3 in A Minor ~ 180
Gigue On the Road, at the Lakeshore, in the Forest
Partita no. 6 in E Minor ~ 218
Bibliographical Note ~ 231
Bibliography ~ 235
Index ~ 241
Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction
French Language Category (2008)
Grand Prix du Livre de Montreal
Governor General's Literary Award for Translation
French to English (2011)