“Aria,” from Bach’s Goldberg Variations recorded by Glenn Gould

gg_sized

I’ve had Glenn Gould’s double disc of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in my car for three years. It never gets old. Gould twice tackled this famously difficult piece: for his first studio recording in 1955 and again in 1981, just before his death. In the 1955 version, Gould seems hell bent on demonstrating his genius: bold, confident, full of youthful swagger, Gould blazes through it in 1 minute and 54 seconds. The 1981 version, a full minute slower at 3 minutes and 9 seconds, is more contemplative, sadder, wiser, as if Gould has come to accept his own limitations as a performer and human. So many layers: Bach interpreting and reinterpreting melodic structures for the same chord progression; Gould interpreting Bach; Gould reinterpreting his own, earlier interpretations. This suggests to me that we all have the right (the imperative?) to evolve and grow, to question ourselves, to change.

-Chad Reynolds

Chad in StuttgartChad Reynolds is the author of six poetry chapbooks, including Eau-de-Vie by Sixth Finch Books. He co-runs Short Order Poems, a group which writes poems on typewriters on the spot on whatever you want, which he co-founded with poet Timothy Bradford in Oklahoma City in 2014.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

See all Songs of the Week here.

Follow Song of the Week on Twitter: @nohelpforthat