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04/12/2004: "invention."

Spent most of today practicing piano. Mostly stuff by Bach. I used to LOATHE Bach when I was taking serious lessons at the local conservatory. See, back when I was an angsty thirteen-year-old, Bach was my nemesis. He was The Man. Down with Baroque and that hyper-proper doodly-doodly minuet-type bullshit, I thought; I wanted stuff that dripped raw emotion from its pores. So I naturally gravitated toward moody slices of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, stuff like that--all crashing minor chords and big sobs, epic grandiosity and furious, searing movements that moved fast and wept faster. But I guess I remember now what my Russian piano teacher said then, about Bach's 'Invention in D Minor', a deceptively simple piece with nary a chord in sight--"play the ending slow; it's so sad." Eleven years later, I love Bach, partly because he was such a fuckin' genius when it came to counterpoint, but also because he was so sad. And you can see that sadness manifest itself in clean, spare ways that needed a minimum number of notes to convey the feeling behind them. All the more heartbreaking for sounding so pure, so untainted, so weirdly asexual and streamlined. So I played 'Invention in D Minor' about ten times in a row today, at a different speed each time, my fingers fumbling.


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