Picks and Pans Review: Conversations with Glenn Gould

updated 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Jonathan Cott

A distaste for Mozart, love for Bach and Wagner, a comparison of Mendelssohn to Mussorgsky—a reader might have expected to hear about such things from the innovative Canadian pianist who died in October 1982. But this exhilarating little book also has praise for Barbra Streisand and Petula Clark, scorn for southern climes, and thoughtful observations about critics, contemporary composers, conductors and other pianists. He says, for instance, "What I was trying to say about the Beatles was that after all of the pretension has been cut away...what you really have left is three chords. Now if what you want is an extended exercise in how to mangle three chords, then the Beatles are for you." Gould also discusses the placement of microphones during a recording session in a way that makes listening to records far more interesting. Cott has written books about Bob Dylan and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Parts of this book appeared in Rolling Stone. (Little, Brown, $15.95)

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