Ron Peters's Reviews > Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning

Counterpoint by Philip Kennicott
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bookshelves: art, memoir

I wasn’t crazy about it. It didn’t deliver what the review I’d read led me to believe the book was about – had the reviewer read the book? Kennicott is a journalist specializing in classical music. He had a fraught relationship with his mother and, when she passed away, Kennicott puzzled over what this relationship meant and how it shaped him. At the same time, he decided to learn to play and really understand Bach’s Goldberg Variations. He suggests that the two things are alike since they both involve forming relationships. That alone should give pause, revealing at best an odd sense of the difference between abstract and human relationships. Much of what Kennicott says about the Goldberg Variations and Bach is interesting but has little to do with his mother. He spends large parts of the book talking about every piano teacher he ever had and why his dog doesn’t like Bach. I don’t know why I grimly force myself to finish every book I pick up. At least it led me to listen again to Glenn Gould’s manic 1955 performance on piano and a nice harpsichord performance by Pierre Hantaï. It also kindled an interest in re-acquiring the music theory I learned as a child and have since forgotten.

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Reading Progress

November 27, 2021 – Started Reading
November 27, 2021 – Shelved
November 27, 2021 – Shelved as: art
December 1, 2021 –
page 129
December 2, 2021 –
page 256
December 2, 2021 – Shelved as: memoir
December 2, 2021 – Finished Reading

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