Technology, Philosophy and Criticism in Glenn Gould’s Musical Thought and Practice
The Afterlife of Gould In this last chapter, I step out of Gould’s mind and look at the unique literary and visual reception of his work and character – a reception that I’ve never come across with any other musician of Classical music. Gould does not remain in the cultural consciousness only as photographs and recordings, but also as a kind of cultural icon, the ontology of which I want to examine more closely here. While stepping outside, I am also, as it were, entering my own experience of Gould much more than in the previous chapters. I am not only interested in “di- rect” visual or literal representation of Gould in, say, paintings and youth novels but also focus on more subtle, more nuanced “hints” of Gould’s semiotic pres- ence in artifacts of pop culture. For instance, the semiotic significance of Bach’s Goldberg variations, played by Gould, in three horror movies based on a novel trilogy by Thomas Harris – Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001), and Hannibal Rising (2009) – has puzzled me for some time, and this research lends an opportunity to scrutinize this puzzlement more closely, to analyze the “semi- otic overflow” (the term will be explained further in this chapter) I experience in seeing certain scenes in the movies. For instance, I’ve been puzzled by the scene in the Silence of the Lambs in which the protagonist, psychopath-genius Hanni bal Lecter gesticulates like Gould, over the latter’s 1955 recording of the Goldbergs in the sonic background of...
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