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Song of the Day: Glenn Gould plays Bach

Glenn Gould, “Aria” – from The Goldberg Variations (1981)

Variation 1
Variation 24

This album came out when I was a senior in high school, and it was the first classical recording I really fell in love with, and the first Bach. I’d been listening to classical music throughout my teenage years – but mostly predictable and accessible symphonic music – Holst’s “The Planets,” Beethoven symphonies and things from the movie Fantasia like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Night on Bald Mountain.” Gould’s recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” was something different – denser, more intellectual, prickly and demanding. And it changed my life – or at least the musical part of it.

I can still vividly recall listening to this record the year it came out. My stepfather had an excellent stereo system in the living room. In the late evening, I’d turn off the lights, and light a candle on the mantle next to the stereo, then put the record on and hurry to the couch before the playing began. I’d lie on the couch and listen as Gould’s playing danced and darted in the dim, flickering light.

A pause. This was of course a real record, vinyl, not a CD, so at the end of Side One, I’d have to get up to flip it over. It was like waking from a dream, when you get up briefly and then sink back into it.

When I listen to this recording now, as I do probably once a month, I often feel like I am back on that couch, lying in the candle light, falling in love with Bach all over again.

Filed under: Autobiography, Song of the Day, ,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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