Holy Saturday, quiet world. Also a birthday to remember.
The Stillness of the World Before Bach
There must have been a world before
the Trio Sonata in D, a world before the A minor Partita,
but what kind of a world?
A Europe of vast empty spaces, unresounding,
everywhere unawakened instruments
where the Musical Offering, the Well-tempered Clavier
never passed across the keys.
where the soprano-line of the Passion
never in helpless love twined round
the gentler movements of the flute,
broad soft landscapes
where nothing breaks the stillness
but old woodcutters’ axes,
the healthy barking of strong dogs in winter
and, like a bell, skates biting into fresh ice;
the swallows whirring through summer air,
the shell resounding at the child’s ear
and nowhere Bach nowhere Bach
the world in a skater’s silence before Bach.
-By Lars Gustafsson
Indeed. Bach rocks.
But what I cannot imagine is the stillness of the world before Shakespeare. How did we speak? How did we feel? Too windswept to imagine. Thank God for small favors: we were born P.S., post-Shakespeare.
Happy birthday, William, Bard, old friend.