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This evocative, detailed account of the compulsive search for a sensitive, highly responsive concert piano by Canadian musical wunderkind Glenn Gould combines the parallel histories of one of the most controversial and brilliant pianists of the last century and the incredible keyboard instrument on which he played for some of his most important recordings. Hafner, a New York Times correspondent, presents a fascinating biography of Gould, who was known for his quirks, including his wearing of winter gear on summer days, his donning of fingerless gloves while playing, his manic fear of germs and hand shaking. The book will greatly appeal to those intrigued by the history of the influential German-bred Steinway piano company, but it is the close interaction of Gould and Charles Verne Edquist, the nearly blind piano tuner, with a Steinway CD 318 concert piano, that lift the book above the usual biography. This book will aid the reader to fully appreciate Gould's creative work in interpreting the early sonatas of Mozart and his majestic rendition of the Goldberg Variations. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Hafner has clarified some old mysteries and turned up many fresh details, even some genuinely newsworthy scoops.”
— Kevin Bazzana, author of Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
This book is about the oldest human intoxicant, the quest for perfection. Katie Hafner describes in fascinating detail the entire human apparatus — teachers, tuners, piano builders, sound engineers, impresarios — that made possible Glenn Gould's singular art. With the narrative force of fiction she explores the uncertain territory where unbridled artistic imagination meets the limits of an instrument, and shows us the emotional costs."
— Thad Carhart, author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
“Plucky New York Times correspondent Hafner …weaves together three stories — of the pianist, the tuner and the piano itself — into a single cohesive narrative, the musical version of Seabiscuit…. Drawing on hours of recorded interviews, she filters out the redundant and inconsequential to lucidly grasp the essential: the complex interaction among an artist, a craftsman and the precious tool they both revered. Written with authority and enthusiasm, a treat for armchair musicologists, Gould fanatics and even those who never heard a note he played."
“[An] evocative, detailed account of the compulsive search for a sensitive, highly responsive concert piano by Canadian musical wunderkind Glenn Gould….Hafner presents a fascinating biography of Gould…. The book will greatly appeal to those intrigued by the history of the influential German-bred Steinway piano company, but it is the close interaction of Gould and Charles Verne Edquist, the nearly blind piano tuner, with a Steinway CD 318 concert piano, that lift the book above the usual biography….”
— Publishers Weekly
“Reading Hafner on Gould is sometimes as much fun as listening to him play. And that’s saying a lot.”
“Hafner’s book belongs to that gee-whiz genre perfected by writers such as John McPhee, Susan Orlean and Mary Roach…. A Romance on Three Legs is a source of delight and illumination.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
From the Hardcover edition.