A Musical Offering
Translated by Fionn Petch
In his final version of the Variations, Glenn Gould introduces a subtle, almost imperceptible change, breaking with the nocturnal circularity. As if he didn’t want the Count to sleep after all, condemning Goldberg to inhabit that wakeful night forever. The change occurs in the last beat of the final aria: an ornament that concludes the recording. Gould’s great contribution lies not in what he modifies, but in the very gesture of modification.
Tracing a circular course that echoes Bach’s Goldberg Variations, in Luis Sagasti’s second book to appear in English he takes on the role of Scheherazade to recount us story after story, interwoven in subtle and surprising ways to create a tapestry that vibrates to celestial harmonies. He leads us on a journey from the music born of the sun to the music sent into space on the Voyager mission, from Rothko to rock music, from the composers of the concentration camps to a weeping room for Argentinian conscripts in the Falklands.
A Musical Offering traverses the same shifting sands of fiction and history as the tales of Jorge Luis Borges, while also recalling the ‘constellation’ structure of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. Filled with insight and ideas yet unexpectedly tender and personal, it is a celebration of storytelling, of childhood, and of the transformative power of music.
Published 08/07/2020 in United Kingdom