Sunday, December 07, 2008

BWV 1004

As everyone 'knows', I dislike children, and disapprove of any and all attempts to introduce them into the public sphere. I'm particularly critical of parents who bring their 4 /5 year olds to classical music concerts; a sub-class of quasi-criminals who, were it left up to me (though it mercifully isn't) would be shut away in a dark cell for a minimum of five years and be made to listen to six hours of ABBA everyday.

Every now and then, however, children will surprise me by turning out to be human. Last Thursday, for instance, when the 5 year old [1] sitting in front of me at a violin recital spent much of the concert with the score open on his lap, valiantly and self-importantly following along as Christian Tetzlaff scraped his way through Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. It wasn't just that he behaved like an angel - didn't fidget, didn't start to talk loudly in the middle of a movement - it was the fact that he was so interested, that he was enjoying himself so thoroughly. It was the first time in half a decade that I've actually felt anything approaching affection for a child.


In the meantime, I find I'm becoming completely obsessed with the Bach pieces for solo violin - particularly with BWV 1004 (with its mesmerising Chaconne), which I've heard four different versions of in the last 8 hours alone. It's incredible how Bach can construct so compelling a conversation with a single instrument - there are entire Haydn string quartets that have less going on than the final movement of this Partita.


Meanwhile, if I'd ever had any doubts about being in the wrong demographic for classical music concerts, they were put to rest today. Someone in the row behind me happened to mention that it was the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, which prompted everyone else to begin sharing their personal memories of that fateful day. And I mean everyone.

I don't know if I'm going to be alive on 09/11/2068 (I kind of doubt it to be honest), but if I am I'm so going to a concert and talking about it.

The really marvellous thing is: they'll still be playing Bach.


[1] Well, he looked five. But he could have been four. Or three. Or eight. How are you supposed to tell with the little blighters anyway? It's not like you can cut them open and count the rings.


Jabberwock said...

It was the first time in half a decade that I've actually felt anything approaching affection for a child.

And before that? Quick, disclose all!

km said...

Misanthropy and Bach.

This is why you are loved.

Falstaff said...

J'wock: No, no, a blogger must have some secrets.

I did spend close to a year working full-time for Akanksha, you know. I have enough 'cute children' stories to start a mommy blog of my own. But why would I want to?

km: I am?

The two are kind of related, aren't they? You listen to Bach and then you listen to people talking and before you know it you're a misanthrope.

Mario said...

1. Shouldn't everyone be subjected to ABBA?

2. The translation of Faiz's Prison Evening on this blog is the best I've read. Is it yours? And if so, how may it be quoted?

Anonymous said...

lol uer shamelessly hilarious...may u be 'blessed' with the tiny blighters aplenty!

kbpm said...

judging by his appreciation of the music, he must have been seventy (or thereabouts). you usually tell the 'blighters' (i prefer the more humane 'monsters' myself) age by the TV shows they watch and the cartoon characters they sport on their person.

Venky said...



Ah, the Bach Ciaccone - I only have Ms. Hahn's interpretation. Please be sharing thoughts on other versions.


When I point to my seat, my 80-year old fellow audience member looks at me ("you want to sit ?!!") and then, clutching her purse, grudgingly lets me pass....