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A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect…

by Katie Hafner

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15513137,268 (4.19)11
A fascinating look at Glenn Gould's obsession with a Steinway concert grand that offers new insight into one of the most complex and celebrated pianists of the 20th century, by a New York Times reporter who is an accomplished amateur pianist herself.
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A great book on Gould, Bach, Steinway pianos, piano tuning, Canada, and half a dozen other topics. A great read. ( )
  bodhisattva | Aug 23, 2015 |
Terrific. ( )
  AsYouKnow_Bob | Sep 23, 2012 |
A most unusual biographical study, this is a book about a musician and his music, but even more it is about his search for perfection. The author writes of a search for a piano that is more intense than anything I have experienced in my piano-playing life. While I have encountered several different pianos, from the old upright of my youth to the local public library grand and sturdy spinets at the University of Wisconsin School of Music, I have never obsessed the way Glenn Gould did.

Katie Hafner makes the story interesting with details of the life of the piano, its caretaker and the marriage of artist and piano in the studio. The piano is a Steinway grand piano known as CD318. The caretaker, an almost completely blind piano tuner, reminded me of a piano tuner who maintained my own spinet for several years. The marriage meant that this piano became part of the history of music performances by one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. While the marriage of piano and pianist was not fated to last forever, that part of the story is best left for the reader to discover for himself. It is a story that this music lover found exceptional. And it is a unique perspective on the life of an artist notorious for his personal eccentricities. ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | Apr 19, 2011 |
Fascinating and insightful look into the habits of a great genius. Gould comes off looking like a sensitive artist, and not like a "nut job" as in some bios. ( )
  lolitaguy | Apr 19, 2011 |
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould was well-known as an eccentric genius. He searched all his life for a piano that could play music as he heard it in his head, and he finally found it in CD 318, a Steinway concert grand. The piano was specially modified to provide the “featherweight” touch that Gould preferred, and he made many recordings on it. In Hafner’s recounting, the piano takes on a life and even a personality of its own. The author also delves into the stories of the Steinway Corporation and of Charles Verne Edquist, Gould's loyal piano tuner. I enjoyed this absorbing and moving book. ( )
  akblanchard | May 22, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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For Brad, who saw me through.

And for my mother, cheerleader extraordinaire.
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It arrived in a large moving van: 226 cartons filled with objects that, had they belonged to anyone else, could just as easily have been destined for a landfill.
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A fascinating look at Glenn Gould's obsession with a Steinway concert grand that offers new insight into one of the most complex and celebrated pianists of the 20th century, by a New York Times reporter who is an accomplished amateur pianist herself.

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