Goldberg Variation 2
This Aria from the opening of the famed Theme and Variations of Bach – written for an insomniac – particularly lends itself to the lyrical nature of the flute, at least in my estimation. And for you purists, I hasten to point out that, as is well-documented, Bach loved to hear his compositions played on instruments other than what they were originally written for, as was the practise of the day in the Baroque Era.
I get the busking urge periodically, however not the situation this time, despite the sounds of passersby; I was oddly gratified (hey: that word looks a lot like graffiti!) and delighted to have a family with a young child pass by behind me as I knelt playing – and offering a wave mid-phrase – at one side of the passageway, reading my manuscript off the floor of the tunnel.
(In double-checking the spelling of graffiti, I was reminded by my Webster’s that the word is based on ‘Graffito’ , the singular of the word to ‘to scribble, or scratch’…the word ‘stylus’ is even given mention, so here is yet another variation on the Goldberg, with someone playing an LP of Trevor Pinnock‘s rendition!)
Urban Flute is like an electronic version of graffiti, temporal etchings of ethereal, elusive situations: indelible, but ultimately destined to be painted over by the passage of time.
And what of Bach’s etchings and scribblings? One wikipedia google link doesn’t want to open for me, so let’s try good ol’ YouTube for an authentic rendition of this landmark composition!
I’ve always loved the distinctively finicky, pointillistic sound of the harpsichord, and Pierre Hantai sounds magnificent.
Glenn Gould is so very closely associated with this piece, however last time I checked he does not hold exclusive domain rights over the piece! G.G.’s famous twinned versions of the piece (the link provided is his famous second pass at the monumental work, decades after his 1950’s benchmark recording) and incidentally offers a superlative example of Bach’s music being performed on instruments other than what was the norm for the day when it was written, especially when contrasted with the quilled/plucked sounds of the harpsichord or clavichord (played here carelessly above tempo, and, well, nicely out of tune: not necessarily the norm for period instruments!).
Speaking of Gould, here is a treat if it’s your bent; did you know that, just before his untimely death, he was contempating a conducting career? Left-handed and all!