Friday 7 June 2019. 1:45-3pm, Room 113
Chair: Michael MacDonald, MacEwan University
De-Northing North: Autobiography in Glenn Gould’s Radio Documentaries
Paul Sanden, University of Lethbridge
In “Radio as Music” (Gould 1990), Glenn Gould argues that The Idea of North (1967) is as much autobiographical as it is about “The North.” Which of the ideas, ostensibly about living in the North, spoken not by Gould but by those he interviewed for the project, are in fact a reflection of Gould’s own aesthetic and humanistic vision, and what more can this tell us about Gould himself? What lends support to Gould’s claim that North (along with, I would argue, his other documentaries) is autobiographical is the extensive consistency of ideas expressed throughout these documentaries, even while they appear to be about different topics. Through analysis of the documentaries and other archival documents, I will begin to chart consistencies throughout the argumentative threads of Gould’s documentaries. This process will yield something of a summation of Gould’s overall aesthetic and philosophical outlook.
Eldon Rathburn, one of the most multi-dimensional, prolific, and fascinating composers of the twentieth century, wrote more music than any other Canadian composer of his generation. During a career spanning 75 years, he served as a staff composer with the NFB, scored the first generation of IMAX films, and created a diverse catalogue of orchestral and chamber works. My new MQUP monograph chronicles Rathburn's life and works, beginning with his formative years in Saint John, NB, and his breakthrough in LA in connection with Schoenberg and the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. The book follows his work at the NFB, his close encounters with some of the most celebrated figures in his field (including Ives, Schoenberg and Varèse), and his IMAX collaborations. I will undertake a close analytical reading of a selection of Rathburn's film and concert scores to outline his methods, techniques, idiosyncratic instrumentation, and his proto-postmodern proclivity for borrowing from diverse styles and genres.