Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Discovering a long discovered

With my recent infatuation with LP's and what a different sound it is (and better) it has opened up a world that was already open. Obviously when searching through piles of records at local thrift and antique stores you come across a lot of the "old standby" repertoire of the classical world. Beethoven, Copland, Mozart, etc... Which has been quite fantastic really. It's one of those things that, as Kris Tiner said to me recently, you own those CDs but how often do you listen to them. Which is absolutely true. So I have been rediscovering all this great symphonic literature from the 19th and early 20th century by the greatest composers and conductors that have ever lived.

But one thing that has really opened my eyes is Bach. Now, of course, Bach has always been there in the background through countless academic courses of Form and Analysis and voice leading chapters and what not, and the appreciation, and admiration of his craft is always an underpinning of the musical thoughts of most people I think, whether they know it or not. But I don't think I have ever truly discovered Bach for myself until now.

I saw a quote by Glenn Gould, arguably the greatest Bach practitioner that has ever lived, saying that there is always a moment in each musicians life when he discovers Bach for the first time. I have heard that quote several times and always just kind of thought "oh that silly Glenn, what a strange and wonderful fellow". But now I think that has actually happened. I always was in the mindset of "oh yeah, Bach and his fugues, what pretty little things... hooray for Bach". But recently I picked up several records of his Well-Tempered Clavier, some keyboard concertos and, my favorites, several records of his organ music. And this has brought me into the world of Bach. Not that I am going to run out and start writing fugues and chorales and so forth, but there is a depth of listening that I have never had before. And now I see that Gould was right after all.

So now I say Hooray for Bach!! and off I go to listen to E. Power Biggs play some beautiful chorales.

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