Tuesday 4 August 2020

The Idea of the North

The Idea of North (1967), The Latecomers (1969), and The Quiet in the Land (1977) - collectively known as the Solitude Trilogy, are so-called documentaries by Canadian composer and pianist Glenn Gould (1932 - 1982).  They are complex multi-layered 'polyphonic' spoken pieces. They are built from hours of Gould's tape recorded material - spliced carefully together into three one hour long pieces. 

The Canadian poet and translator Robert Bringhurst rates these pieces as '...one of the most accomplished and important works of literature ever produced in North America, in any medium or language'. (Licking the Lips with a Forked Tongue 2005).

He goes on to explain how he first came across these works - much later than when they were first broadcast - 'I began, then,  to understand that Gould was the most colossally improbable of all Canadian poets - and that he was, more improbably still, one of the greatest'.  (Singing with the Frogs 1997).

The pieces are available on YouTube.