We are a family of six (that includes our dog Ekho), with both Alex and I being working musicians. On the last day of school before spring break, as the government was telling people not to leave on vacation, we sensed our lives were about to change. Over the next six weeks, we saw the loss of our 2019-2020 working season. In Vancouver: Pacific Baroque Orchestra’s new music concert (a creative process well underway); the final EMV / PBO concert with Beethoven and Mozart symphonies that so many musicians looked forward to; the St. John’s Passion in collaboration with the Vancouver Chamber Choir (this would have meant me playing viola d’amore); not to mention the abrupt end of another successful term with the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program at UBC (and new interest at UVic).
From despair to gratefulness, motivation to exhaustion, the roller coaster of emotions has been quite the gamut. While navigating the work doubts, I also needed to hold it together for my kids; I needed to develop routine for them, I needed to answer their questions and be their support and somehow, magically set them all up for their online school learning – yet still maintain a practise regiment…
Having a type “A” personality, I soon realized that I could not maintain my mental health without a total about-face.
So. My journey as a musician through COVID-19 has been perhaps different from my original expectations. I have learned to slow down. Listening, opposed to doing; contemplating, instead of producing. I know I am learning by being still (when my kids allow it!).
The music I wanted to share with you are J.S Bach’s Goldberg Variations as played by Glenn Gould. My son has been playing a few of these in his piano practices everyday. Of course, Bach’s writings bring comfort to almost every Baroque musician; but I have enjoyed comparing Gould’s 1955 vs.1981 recordings, especially his interpretations of the opening/closing theme – how age and life experience brings perspective!
Glenn Gould in 1955:
Glenn Gould in 1982: