Monday, September 24, 2007

Baseline

I smelled of yeast and tomato sauce. I probably also smelled of garlic, a little basil, and plenty of stale beer. It was a warm spring night and the air outside was filled with the sweet smell of sage, which grew in abundance along the hillside.

My windows were down, and I had three empty delivery bags in the back of my pickup. It was post Rodney King, and my gun was was holstered illegally beneath my car seat.

I was heading back to pick up three more orders. As I left the shop 12 minutes earlier, I spied a known non-tipper going in to the oven. Not wanting to get stuck with that one, I slowed down and took a minor detour. I'd let the new guy hustle back ahead of me and snatch that one. That was the "pizza game." I was good at it.

I took a left off of Baseline and skirted up Bonnie Brae past my ex-girlfriend's house. Just curious, you know...

Anyway, the detour would burn three minutes, plenty of time to dodge the dud delivery.

The radio was on, but it bored me. Nirvana was still new and overplayed. As was Pearl Jam and the rest of the Seattle invasion. I was tired of pop music, and talk radio offered little in the way of evening entertainment. I had worn through my cassette tapes of the Smiths, the Cure, and REM.

I flipped around for something different. Not Jesus music. Not Country. Not Hip Hop.

The seeker stopped on the local college radio signal, limited but clear. The gentleman speaking had a deep liquid voice. He seemed dangerously intelligent, but kind. He was talking about music theory. Specifically, about Glenn Gould, that great kooky prodigy of the 20th century. I was lost in the erudition, left to swim in the murky waters of of my stunted musical education.

Then, in an apparent attempt to illustrate some arcane point long-since lost on my feeble little monkey brain, the host launched into some old recording of Glenn Gould hammering away in staccato fashion.

The piece caught my attention, and though a mere block from returning to Baseline, I pulled over to the side of the road. It was an old performance, and Gould, I later learned was a very young, but talented, young man. He was playing, what the wizened host had called, "the hardest piece of piano music to play." It was Bach's Keyboard Concerto No.1 in D Minor, and it stunned me. It side swiped me. It spoke to me.

I was late returning to the shop that evening. Too late. I wasn't in trouble, but I certainly lost the pizza game.

So, thanks to Youtube, in three parts, here is Glenn Gould performing that piece, or at least the best versions Youtube has to offer.

(Go find a good copy for yourself...)

Bach's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

I. Allegro



II. Adagio



III. Allegro

3 comments:

  1. Gorgeous music! Thanks for tunes to listen to while I get dressed today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah yes, Baseline!! The main artery through the quirky college town that is know as Claremont. The 5th best city to live in the United States. The street where I lost my virginity. I've got to get the hell out of here!!!

    House is for sale...Good bye granola.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow... dare I say... a "classy" post?

    Fine work. Now, a slide show of nudity WHILE that music was playing, would be truly Lounge-worthy.

    ReplyDelete

Be compelling.

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