Monday, October 31, 2011

1Q84- Glenn Gould

This is a rather random post. As some of you may know, haruki murakami recently released his 2009 novel, 1Q84, in the States, translated from his native japanese into english. He is a very intriguing writer, with works that instantly grab you with their thoroughly detailed descriptions of mundane life that quickly turn surreal and engrossing, demanding your imagination in ways that relate to dream states and memory. 1Q84 is his grandest work, and throughout it he mentions pieces of pop culture, referencing songs and places and historical milestones to help you subtly set the scene as you read. As i have been reading along, whenever a song is mentioned i will quickly search it out and play it in the background as i continue through a scene. It is a fun way to "read along", as i am sure that while he was writing these passages he too was listening to the songs mentioned. He is an avid music collector, with an office lined with countless vinyl.

To make a longer story short, he mentioned a Bach piece called Well-Tempered Clavier early in the novel, as a focal character was introduced: I went to youtube and found the piece, preformed by the (apparently) legendary Glenn Gould. He was a highly regarded pianist that interpreted classical music with critically acclaimed style.

As i read, i had to stop my progress in the novel to watch the performance Glenn gave of this selection of the Clavier pieces. I thought of its execution as compared to watching a spider weave its web: you understand it fundamentally, as a flawless piece of mathematical construction; you can tell that the subject creating it has its scheme built into its nature, its very existence; and though you may doubt the slow, meticulous, ever-complicated crescendo of its progression while it is being created in front of your eyes, the end result is perfection.

For those of you not keen to most classical music, please skip to 3:40. Shit just gets out of control from that point forward. Below is Goulds interpretation of Bachs Goldberg Variations, another epic piece of classical solo piano subtlety.

goldberg variations

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