I was craving rock and roll after yesterday's Modern Lovers, but when I went to Spotify for the likes I saw the last thing playing was Bach's Aria played by Glenn Gould, which was sent to me by Truck Darling (Jeni Olin get up!) who tagged me in a FB post, but it turned out to be perfect, thank you Henry James for the endless sentence variations, with bare intuitive transitions depending on who's paying attention, and the piece ws the best, the Bach, because my grandmother-in-law whom I have never met is dying, and I am thinking of her, but especially her son, and his daughter and her daughters, all whom I love and see clearly, all coming from her, and am so am feeling her loss, as well as her gain, I'm in bittersweet mourning, and the Aria, especially as interpreted by the clairvoyant Glenn Gould, is such balm and salve for the mourning heart. The music accompanies the grief like...a mother.
Thinking of her, and how beautiful she must be knowing as I do her children and her children's children and her ever more beautiful children's children's children.
So there it was this morning and I wondered if I could dance to it. I thought I'd give it a prelude and a fugue, so I started there on the Spotify playlist. (Have I mentioned I love Spotify?) And holy wow, did I dance. I've never noticed just how propulsive Bach could be, especially, again especially in the forward pushing hands and swing of Gould, who plays with and emphasized the rhythms to great effect, so that you feel them in your body as you emulate the sounds. I used to prefer the jazz improvization over the writ recital, but in the hands of someone like Gould it is the exact write music of Bach itself is being improvised upon with both far reaching innovation and the deepest sympathy for the source. In other words, they both rock and in rocking rocked me.
The super subtle but absolutely most essential thing, is that the music itself drives the beat, so that the body always knows which direction to go in, relatively, but the way both Bach, and afterward,
Gould play, endlessly, with the basic rhythms, weaving melodic patterns of infinite plasticity and nuance, keep the dance always exciting, never monotanous. Your body can listen to music and respond as if going on nerve.
And you will sweat hard. Then the Aria will come back on. You bow low. You see the image of Granny in front of you, smiling (which you recognize by looking at your own children's smile and following them backwards through the generations, such broad and beaming smiles. As bright as anything else I've ever known.) You stand back up, smile and sweep your arm as if to say welcome, Granny. And when you feel the tears on your face you know she's there.