Jan Lisiecki rescues TSO’s Glenn Gould tribute from nonsense

Some great performances are mired in a poorly-thought-out program in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 'A Tribute to Glenn Gould.'

The evening’s emcee was actor Colm Feore, explaining fluidly in both official languages how the various bits of music consisted of a tribute to Glenn Gould. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Peter Oundjian (conductor), with guests Jan Lisiecki (piano), and Colm Feore. Roy Thomson Hall, Sept. 22 and 23, 2017.

Although the music was well performed, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s tribute to Canadian icon Glenn Gould made no sense whatsoever until pianist Jan Lisiecki had the Roy Thomson Hall stage to himself in the closing minutes of the evening.

Lisiecki’s short, solo encore on Friday night conjured up Gould instantly in a way the preceding two-plus hours had failed to do. He played the Aria from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

The simple little movement that closes this monumental opus is the window through which Gould continues to step into the hearts of millions of people around the world. Because his last album was a redo of the Goldberg Variations, it was also the window through which Gould exited into the afterlife at the age of 50.