Glenn Gould is dead. He was the most individual performing musician of his generation, and his passing at the age of fifty removes the one pianist from the musical scene who seemed to have the ability to say something new and interesting about familiar—and over-familiar—music.

When he gave concerts—which he did widely until 1964—they were wildly successful with audiences and often even with music critics. For almost twenty years thereafter, until his death in Toronto last month, he confined himself to recorded performances. The records he made sold steadily, in quantities far surpassing those of his colleagues.

Gould’s recording career began in 1955 with the monumental Goldberg Variations of Bach; it ended (at least as far as releases during his lifetime were concerned) with the same work, recorded in 1981 and made available to the public in September to coincide with the...

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