The Baroque is that style which deliberately exhausts (or tries to exhaust) its possibilities and borders on its own caricature.


A lovely little infographic from Neven Mrgan, comparing the durations of Gould two major recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations:

Here’s a little chart I made. Glenn Gould recorded two remarkably different versions of Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’. The 1955 version is fast, virtuosic, and energetic (even frenetic). The 1981 version is deliberately paced and elegant. They are both dizzying masterpieces.

Most people prefer one over the other. On an average day, I will favor the 1981, but only by about 5%. I am very glad that both of them exist.

(Click for full size, please)

A State of Wonder was one of my favorite albums of 2008. I’ve been meaning to go back and listen through again, but alternating between the 1955 and 1981 versions for each variation. I think I also prefer 1981 recording.

They skipped a few minutes’ worth of the opening toccata section, but man, how cool. That footwork! (via kottke)

I’m wondering what someone could do if they spent their life practicing an instrument like this one. Or what could a group of players (dancers?) make of it? One of the things that can make percussion ensembles (or say, a drummer in a band) more interesting than other chamber groups is all the movement. It can be really visual and just plain fun to watch, which you don’t always get from a pianist or string quartet or whatever.