Glenn Gould Discusses His 1982 Recording
of the Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
True, sometimes in the quiet passages you'll hear my own voice rise
alongside the piano's notes as Bach's perfect clockwork counterpoints fall
quick or slow into the long line marching from the Steinway's lifted lid -- fall,
then moments later, as the aria gives way to an invention, rise
to meet the challenge of exploring as many variations as could arise
in the fertile mind of such a genius. So if I hum along, if notes fall
from between my parted lips, know that the lips part, that the notes fall,
in sheer delight. While my fingers recreate such ornaments of sound, which rise
each out of the end of the one before it -- how could my breath not rise
as well? Who, I ask you, could keep from humming, could still his footfall?
Not me, not even knowing that for a million listeners my voice would fall
completely flat compared with Bach's. His is music to make any spirit rise.
An exercise for "Poetry Bootcamp" class, February, 2000