Posteado por: Concha Huerta | 20/06/2010


Note: Post translated by M. da Silva from Spanish Zarabanda.

1945. A young Glenn Gould practices on his mother’s piano, newly woken and facing a cup of tea, wearing a flannel robe. His hands caress the keys with voices that hum a partita. By his side his loyal friend lifts his ears on a scale and poses his heads on his paws on the tonic. Every once in a while he rises and peers through the open window over Toronto’s beach. Music streams forth from each of his pores enamored with the great master Johann Sebastian Bach.

We will never know what sounds Bach extracted from his Leipzig spinet. All we can do is imagine his spirit to approach his eternal soul. For generations his work has been kept alive, interpreted by each piano player in their own way. Watching Glenn Gould it feels like I am in some sideways world he shares only with the composer from Thuringia. His hands tingeing the piano with baroque voices, his face absorbing the breath of the keys.

1964. Glenn Gould decides to abandon recitals and dedicate himself to spreading music through new technologies. Television, radio shows and mythical recordings he never repeated. With the single exception of Goldberg’s Variations he played at the beginning and the end of his career in unique renditions that signaled a landmark in history. The difference in nuances, sonority and duration between both pieces is astonishing and it proves classic music is a living thing in constant evolution. The greatest of God’s gift to men.

Glenn Gould lives “for and by” the piano sitting on a chair cut to his height, an intense life marked by controversy, amongst scores and books, pills, mittens and scarves. His genial soul bordered the limits of madness in a level of perfection denied to simple mortals, set aside for a handful of privileged minds, the genial and the mad. I would like to graze such madness sometime.

I would have enjoyed knowing that eternal youth, listening to his fumbling words about music and art, sharing a coffee by his records. Observing those exemplary hands closely, purified in hot water before each concert, rising in spirals through the air impregnated with invisible rhythms. To hum Bach cantatas together at the piano. The same Bach who elevated man’s spirit to infinity. I know little of religions that fight for the souls of Earth, promising paradises from other times. I only believe in one Supreme Spirit that orchestrates the beauty of all that surrounds us. In a God who calls Bach his brother and Glenn Gould his prophet.

Note: In music, the sarabande (It., sarabanda) is a dance in triple metre. The second and third beats of each measure are often tied, giving the dance a distinctive rhythm of crotchets and minims in alternation. Apparently the dance became popular in the Spanish colonies before moving back across the Atlantic to Spain. While it was banned in Spain in 1583 for its obscenity, it was frequently cited in literature of the period (for instance in works by Cervantes and Lope de Vega). Later, it became a traditional movement of the suite during the baroque period.


  1. Estimada Concha: Además de felicitarte por este hermoso texto, quiero notificarte que tienes un pequeño obsequio en el faro.
    Saludos cordiales.

    • Que bonita sorpresa, recoger esta admiración tuya entre bitácoras hermanas. Todo un lujo para el inicio de la semana. También me paso por los que aun no conozco. Enhorabuena por tu premio y gracias.

  2. Concha, Bach es uno de mis autores preferidos, sus brandemburgueses, esa sintonía con lo sacro siempre despertó mi admiración y total gusto desde muy pequeña. El interprete que nos muestras no lo conocía por lo que agradezco tu aporte. Me quedaré un rato deleitandome. Un abrazo.

    • Yo desayuno con los conciertos de brandemburgo para llenar mis días de energía. Me alegra haberte presentado a Glenn Gould. Probablemente el mejor intérprete de Bach en la historia moderna. Un saludo

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