On listening to Bach played on the piano

16 07 2010

I used to be a “real” traditionalist. That means that I never would intentionally listen to Bach played on the piano. “There were no pianos in Bach’s time”, I reasoned, “so what was the point of listening to him being played on an instrument he didn’t even know about?” But as in many things in life, I ceased being so much of a dogmatist and by chance listened to some keyboard recordings by Glenn Gould and others of Bach. What can I say? I didn’t “love” them, but I didn’t dislike them either. Now I could care less if the French Suites or a fugue is being played on a harpsichord, piano, or whatever. Perhaps it is because, I have realized that, at least in the aesthetic realm, beauty does not come merely from evoking the past, but from invoking that thing in the past that touched timelessness: absolute Form.

Sometimes being a snob gets in the way of beauty. You just have to let things be.