By Brian Glucroft
After all of my posts related to my interest in China, technology, etc, I'd like to share a little about another passion of mine -- music.
As alluded to in my blog's name, I like to use the fugue musical form and other forms of musical counterpoint as a loose analogy for appreciating much of the world around me. It's difficult to explain but if you watch the wonderful film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and pay particular attention to the scene at a truck stop you'll get a taste of what I mean -- the way the different threads in the world interact in their own special way to create a unique experience. I'd provide an excerpt but I don't think it makes as much sense outside the context of the movie.
Today, I'd like to share a fugue by the master of fugues, Johann Sebastian Bach. It's not just any of his fugues, but one from his tour de force series "The Art of the Fugue". I highly recommend listening to it several times. Try to focus on different lines in the music, for example following just one of the instruments playing. Like getting to know any culture, the more you time you spend on it the more the interrelationships, intricacy, and beauty emerge.
I chose the following recording for several reasons. One, it is a fantastic example of how technology can be used to find new ways for people to express themselves - even when the subject is an old masterpiece. Another reason is it features instruments from an older period of music unfamiliar to many. Finally, and not least, the performer is a friend of mine who I first met while studying at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins about a decade and half ago. I think you'll see that James Howard Young, a professional musician, also loves fugues.
Based in Shanghai for over four years, Brian Glucroft has worked as a researcher in the user experience field for online services, electronic devices, and software companies, including Microsoft China, and has a new blog at Isidor's Fugue.