Customer Reviews for

Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review of A Romance on Three Legs

    I loved this book for a few reasons. The first being that I am a pianist - no where near Glenn Gould's level, but I have played classical music for the bulk of my life and even attended college pursuing a piano performance degree. Unlike Glenn Gould, however, I was more a fan of the romantics and really didn't "get" Bach. Until I heard him play it.

    If you have never listened to Glenn Gould play Bach I encourage you to go and find a recording <i> right now </i>. It's nothing like you will have heard before. There is a mention in this book on how Gould says that he would not record a piece if he did not have something new to add to it. He set the standard for performances of Bach and I have yet to hear anything as unique and perfect as listening to him play it.

    However, this is not a biography of Glenn Gould. It's more of a memoir of the piano, Steinway CD318. That's the second thing I loved about this book. I grew up in a home where many pianos went in and out of my life. I played on everything from Steinways and Bosendorfers to Yamahas and Wurlitzers. One of my favorite piano's was a little grand in a music store. It was a Petrof, a piano made in Czechoslovakia. I connected with that instrument in a way that I've never connected with one since. The tone seemed to make the music for me and the action made me feel as if I was at home. I've often wondered where that piano ended up and I hope it was as well cared for as I would have cared for it.

    The only other instrument that came even close to having that kind of connection was when I had an opportunity to play on Artur Rubensteins piano as a teenager. My dad jokes to this day that it took that piano to teach me how to play a piece of music I'd been struggling on for months to master.

    And lastly, this is a story about Verne, Gould's piano tuner and one of the main figures in CD318's life. This was a man who had only 10% of his vision, heard notes as colors and spent years perfecting his craft. He put up with so much of Gould's idiosyncrasies that just reading about it had me shaking my head and wondering at his patience.

    My father tuned for years while I was growing up. He would rebuild, repair, restring and move pianos in and out of my life on a regular basis. I would often bemoan the fact that I'd just get to play the pianos in their beat up condition and that as soon as they reached a wonderful level they were sold off and replaced with another project. Later on in my lifetime I was thankful for that, as it provided me with the opportunity to adjust quickly to different pianos I performed on.

    Glenn Gould refused to do that. He went through piano after piano and only his old Chickering and CD318 would do for him. The book is aptly titled.. for indeed this was a romantic story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Very enjoyable. The piano, Steinway CD 318, is as much a charact

    Very enjoyable. The piano, Steinway CD 318, is as much a character of the book as Gould and his piano technician. There is much detail about the construction, maintenance, and tuning of a piano, and about the world of concert pianos, and about the decline of Steinway during the period that they were owned by CBS. These aspects were my favorite part of the book. But a reader who was not interested in these things could skim those chapters and still have a good account of Gould's unusual personality and career.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    some pianos

    Have 6 legs..... just saying

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  • Posted November 17, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    A wonderfull book. I have not turned pages like this since I was a teenager. This book is a biography of Glenn Gould pivoted with his beloved Steinway CD318 and people surrounding them. It is a wonderfull adventure and drama filled with excitement.
    I cannot help checking his recording dates of his CDs to confirm his life stage after reading this book.
    I hope she would write a book about Sviastrav Richter also.
    I would make a movie based on this book if I hit lottery.

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    Posted June 16, 2011

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    Posted June 8, 2009

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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    Posted February 21, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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