The New York Philharmonic concert of April 6, 1962, is widely regarded as one of the most controversial in the orchestra’s history. It featured a performance by Glenn Gould of the First Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms, with the orchestra led by its music director, Leonard Bernstein.
The concert became famous because of Bernstein’s remarks from the podium prior to the concerto, with which he disassociated himself from the interpretation that was to come. Gould, for his part, claimed publicly to be in favor of Bernstein’s remarks; however, fallout from the event has since been cited as one of the factors that led the pianist to withdraw from public performances in the last years of his career.
The question is: in a concerto, who is the boss – the soloist or the conductor? Gould’s insisted that the entire first movement be played at half the indicated tempo. It was just light hearted banter blown out of context by a critic. The live radio broadcast (along with Bernstein’s disclaimer) was subsequently released on CD.