Alan Rich
July 26, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Glenn Gould Conducts Wagner's Siegfried Idyll

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Glenn Gould
Producers
Sony Classical
genre
Classical

We gave it an A

Virtuoso, gadfly, arguably the freest and most penetrating musical mind of his time, Glenn Gould couldn’t get within 10 feet of a piece of music without stirring up controversy. One abiding tragedy stalked him: Some of his favorite composers (Wagner among them) never composed anything of consequence for piano. Unfazed, Gould made his own knockout piano versions of some of Wagner’s most orchestrally conceived scores, including the exquisite, tender ”Siegfried Idyll” (offered here with more pianistic Wagneriana), wherein one solo wind instrument after another pours out the composer’s adoration for his new bride. ”I simply wanted to have something of Wagner’s I could play,” Gould explained. Like his Bach and Beethoven, Glenn Gould Conducts Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll became a personal exploration into the music’s deepest secrets. Four months before his death (in 1982, at 50), Gould came a step closer to the Wagnerian essence, conducting a Canadian ensemble in the ”Siegfried Idyll” as originally written. Slow-paced, probing, intensely poetic, it was his own love song to Wagner’s. It was his debut as a conductor, and his finale as well. A

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