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Synopsis

Glenn Gould, one of the world’s most renowned classical musicians of the twentieth century, was also known as an eccentric genius—solitary, headstrong, a hypochondriac virtuoso. Abandoning stage performances in 1964, Gould concentrated instead on mastering the various media: recordings, radio, television, and print. His sudden death at age fifty stunned the world, but his music and legacy continue to inspire. Philosopher and critic Mark Kingwell regards Gould as a philosopher of music whose ideas about music governed his life. But those ideas were contradictory, mischievous, and deliberately provocative. Instead of a single narrative line to explain the musician, Kingwell adopts a kaleidoscopic approach. Just as Gould played twenty-one “takes” to record the opening aria in the famed 1955 Goldberg Variations, Kingwell offers twenty-one “takes” on Gould’s life. Each version offers a different interpretation of the man, but in each, Kingwell is sensitive to the complex harmonies and dissonances that sounded throughout the life of the great Gould.

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