Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Girl and Bach


I was up early with the Girl, stretching and playing classical music.

“What are you listening to?” The Girl asked.

This is music by a man named Bach, I said. He was a composer – he wrote music – and even though he lived hundreds of years ago we still listen to his music.

“What is this piece called?” The Girl asked.

Well, they wrote great music back then, but they weren’t in the habit of giving them very good names, I said. so since the instrument playing is a cello, and it’s a suite –

“It's sweet?” she asked.

A suite like a piece of music, I said, and it’s being played in the key of G – so, in the do-re-me-fa-so song -- so they called it Cello Suite number one in G.

“That’s a terrible name!” she said.

He was great for writing music pieces, I said, but terrible at naming them. What would you name it?

“It sounds like whales singing in a vortex,” The Girl said. That’s brilliant, I said.

When the next piece came on – the Christmas Oratio – I asked what it sounded like to her.

“A parade of elephants having an art festival,” she said.

“Air on a G String” made her think of the flowers waving in our garden, and asked me, “What does it make you think of?” I said it reminded me of the silken threads that appear on bushes this time of year, each one a kite made by a baby spider, ready to launch itself into the wind in search of a new home. 

Cantata 140 made her think of church bells, and Cantata 147 of the synchronised parade that flamingos do in mating season. I don't think it's what Bach had in mind, but that's what art should be: once loosed, it presents something new to everyone.

Photo: The Girl looking for frogs among the reeds.

1 comment:

Peter B. Nelson said...

Those are awesome names! I'll never forget how my boy named his orange velvet teddy bear Red Bundy Car when he was three.