Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

Tuesday's Poem - 10/19/10

What could be simpler? Four
scale-steps descend from Do.
Four such measures carry over
the course of four phrases, then home.

At first mere four-ale, the theme swells
to four seasons, four compass points, four winds,
forcing forth the four corners of a world
perfect for getting lost in

or for filling, by divide and multiply.
Four secret letters, tetragrammaton,
Start to speak themselves, the tune
doubling down a net of no return.

What could be simpler? Not even music
yet, but only counting: Do, ti, la, sol.
Believing their own pulse, four tones
break into combinations, uncountable.

(Richard Powers, excerpted from "Aria" from The Gold Bug Variations, 1992)

Some videos of JS Bach's Goldberg Variations alluded to in the above poem and in the novel The Gold Bug Variations.

Glenn Gould's "Aria" from Bach's Goldberg Variations (1982 recording)

Uri Caine's arrangement of Variation 16, "Overture"

Murray Perahia playing Variations 24 & 25.

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