Aria: Battle lines? (think -- soprano Kathleen Battle)
ARIA is a crossword recidivist, almost always clued in terms of opera. "La Scala offering." "Caro nome, e.g." and the like.
But after watching this extraordinary Glenn Gould documentary last week, I'm reminded of a famous non-vocal ARIA that predates Puccini, Bizet and Bellini. This "Aria" is the beating heart of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations - the first and last "movements" on which variations are based.
Every New Year's Day I listen to the Goldberg Variations (preferably alone, lights off, glass of wine) as a way of honoring the miracle of human creativity. This year I chose Glenn Gould's mature, later-in-life 1981 recording. He is a genius. Some critics dismiss the "Aria" as too slow and labored. But I think it's exquisite -- honest, spare and clean as a Vermeer kitchen; and reminiscent of the majestic tempo in Wanda Landowska's 1945 harpsichord version.
What's your favorite recording of the Goldberg Variations?
Here's the Aria, performed by Glenn Gould. Happy New Year.