GLENN GOULD: He called it ‘the greatest song cycle ever written’, entitling his notes on the two versions of Paul Hindemith’s masterpiece ‘A Tale of Two Marienlebens’.

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Glenn Gould called it ‘the greatest song cycle ever written’, entitling his notes on the two versions of Paul Hindemith’s masterpiece ‘A Tale of Two Marienlebens’. Stravinsky had already insinuated ‘Last Year at Marienleben’. And my pupils recently produced a better wordplay: asked what the name meant, they shyly volunteered ‘Married Life...?’ Copies of both versions have been lying about my rooms over the past few weeks, as I’ve tried to come to terms with what must surely be the most extreme instance of self-correction in all music.

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