RECORDS / Classical: Glenn Gould - The Composer (Sony SK 47184)

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As a pianist Gould taught his audience to expect the unexpected, but in all his discography there's nothing more surprising than this: a new recording, by latterday admirers, of his own scores - mostly written in the 1950s (when Gould was in his twenties) with a bizarrely period-conscious stylistic eclecticism, and largely unpublished. There's a piano sonata, a bassoon sonata and some lightweight vocal numbers, including the famous 'So You Want to Write a Fugue?' But the revelation is his String Quartet Opus 1 (there never was an Opus 2), an opulent yet lucid synthesis of early Schoenberg and late Strauss: romantic expressionism revisited with an originality that gives it life beyond pastiche. To hear it is to wish Gould had written more. Play it to your friends in the confidence that nobody will guess the author, date or nationality. By