Walking around a neighbour’s garden and peering at the ground to try and spot fallen pecan nuts amongst the curling brown and blackening leaves. The skies dark, the wind giving us ear ache. A small handful for our trouble.
Coming back home and choosing not to think again about the politics of incest, the minotaur in the labyrinth. Just staying in the day, the dog’s welcoming bark, messages from friends left on my cell phone.
Alone in the house and treating myself to a recording of Glenn Gould’s The Well-Tempered Clavier from Bach.
Gould was a genius. Eccentric, but the music is flawless. He hated live performance which he compared to vaudeville. While playing the piano he hummed continuously, swayed and clutched at the air. The temperature of the recording studio had to be extremely warm and the piano raised on wooden blocks. He himself sat on an old chair his father had made for him, no higher than 14 inches above the floor, a small rug beneath his feet.
He disliked being touched and wore gloves to shake hands. He was fond of solitude. Like Arnold Schoenberg, Glenn Gould was enthralled by theories of reincarnation and mystic numerology. He believed that he would be reincarnated two years after his death as Sam Caldwell, a media theorist and contrapuntal poet. Nobody seems quite sure if he was joking.
Listening to Gould play Bach or Beethoven is to become the composer for a brief glorious moment, to participate in Bach’s vision, to hear what he heard with an inner ear. Gould knew how to listen. He knew how to share his gift, that utter awareness.