Ottawa - Glenn Gould passed away in 1982 at the age of 50, but music afficionados worldwide still recall his virtuoso performances at the piano – as well as his insistence on playing the piano while sitting on a chair made specially for him by his father. This great artist, who graced a Millennium Collection stamp in 1999, will be recognized once again on September 10, when Canada Post dedicates a $2.50 commemorative envelope to his genius.
The year running from September 25, 2007 to September 24, 2008 has been designated the Year of Glenn Gould because it marks the 75th anniversary of his birth and the 50th anniversary of his historic tour of Russia, where he was the first major North American to perform in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. The year also marks the 25th anniversary of his death.
His first New York appearance on January 11, 1955 drew rave reviews from critics and music lovers alike. His first of 60 recordings for Columbia Masterworks (later SonyBMG) became an instant bestseller, earning him international recognition.
Gould gave up performing live in 1964, preferring to turn his attention to recording, writing, broadcasting and experimenting with technology. In his lifetime he won four Grammy Awards, a Juno and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The Glenn Gould Foundation was established in 1983 to extend awareness of Glenn Gould as an extraordinary musician and communicator, and to advance his innovative ideas into the future.
The commemorative envelope captures the essential Gould. The artist has been caught in a pensive moment by photographer Paul Rockett, perhaps during rehearsal. The photo by Don Hunstein in the preprinted picture postage shows an older, more mature Gould, in cap, coat and gloves (his usual dress no matter what the time of year!). The reverse side features musical highlights from Bach's Goldberg Variations, one of the only pieces of music Gould ever recorded twice and the one with which he is most associated. Céline Morisset, manager, Canada Post Design Group, said she wanted to show the man behind the artist, however inseparable they may be. Lowe-Martin printed 10,000 of the envelopes.
While Gould passed away in Toronto in 1982, we will always have his many recordings and a range of films and documentaries to remind us of his brilliancy.
These commemorative envelopes were printed in a very limited number by Canada Post.