Two short films chronicling Gould’s life and music free to watch online.
Two short documentaries about the life of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould have been released to freely watch on YouTube by the National Film Board of Canada. The pair of films were shot by Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor in 1959 to chronicle the pianist’s eccentric life and work.
In Glenn Gould – Off the Record, below, the pianist is shown relaxing at his lakeside cottage north of Toronto. With a piano and pet dog his only companions, the film’s depicts Gould as a solitary figure completely focused on his music.
In Glenn Gould – On the Record, below, the pianist’s recording process is shown. Gould, well-known for humming along to whichever work he was performing, frustrated numerous recording engineers throughout his life who attempted and never totally succeeded in capturing the music emanating from his piano and not from his mouth.
Gould’s uniqueness began displaying itself early on in life. As a baby, he reportedly hummed rather than cried. At age three he had perfect pitch and by age 12 he had graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. His habit of wearing winter coats and gloves regardless of the weather also famously led to him being arrested in Miami on suspicion of being a vagrant.
Throughout his career, Gould’s unique performance style also attracted attention. In addition to humming along to his playing, he would often shake his head and gyrate his torso in something close to a state of ecstasy.