Because I’m supposed to be focussing on finishing a book, my mind is more than usually prone to wandering down random byways. I thought that by writing down down a few of these thought-burps for a post, I could at least pretend that I was being productive.
Chris Thile playing Bach on a mandolin
My friend Joe posted this on Facebook last year, and I fell in love with it.
There’s something so simple about this. Not “easy” simple; simple like Shaker furniture. Clean, beautifully crafted, uncovering the essence of the material by refusing to overburden it with frills.
This is Sonata #1 in Gm (BWV 1001, for those who are cross-checking their collections). The album, which I bought and often play while I’m writing (I’m listening to it now), also has a second sonata and a partita. All the pieces were written for violin. They’re utterly stunning on mandolin.
You watch Thile on this YouTube clip, and there’s something almost casual about his masterful fingers calling out this magic. A quiet kind of Wow.