22. Bach: Goldberg Variations
[…] Bach and I are in this room together.
his music now lifts me beyond pain
and my pathetic self-interest.
Bach, thanks to you,
I have no living friends.
Excerpt from Bach by Charles Bukowski
The Goldberg Variations are the musical equivalent of automutilation. No other work has made so many aspiring pianists hide behind the couch in a foetal position. Too damn difficult.
First there is the world famous Aria, followed by 30 variations. And once you’ve made it passed that, it all ends with the infamous Aria Da Capo. Come on man!
Gould became R. Kelly’s trailblazer by single-handedly changing the way we listen to Bach. What was originally composed as a series of lullabies in 1741, ended up as the soundtrack of 1950’s foreplay. An entire generation was conceived with Gould's debut album playing in the background.
Anyone who can complete the Goldberg Variations in less than 55 minutes probably didn't spend much time playing outside as a child. The neurotic yet sympathetic Gould drinks from the keg of glory. He not only pulls it off, but he also does it effortlessly. Cheerfully he hums along, like Elle Driver from Kill Bill’s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.