I grew up my entire childhood taking piano lessons and learning to play many classical music pieces. Both of my parents loved classical music, and the entire CD collection at home consisted almost solely of classical music, some piano pieces, some orchestra pieces, and some were pieces for other instruments. Whatever BGM we played at home was classical music, and even when we were driving, we played the cassette tapes my father had copied from our CD collection – again, classical music! Except when listening to the radio, I was constantly surrounded by classical music. This way, I grew up almost completely ignorant of the pop music of the time, and I didn’t feel I was missing anything in my life.
When I was seven, two important encounters took place in my life. I first became a great fan of the famous German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Then shortly after, I was introduced to the famous Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) and fell in love with his performances of Bach’s pieces. I would always passionately tell people around me that my favourite musician was Bach and my favourite pianist was Glenn Gould. Not too surprisingly, such enthusiasm was often met with a puzzled look. Most people didn’t know about Glenn Gould, and even when they did, they didn’t fully get why among all the brilliant pianists in the world, he was my favourite.
From that year, I spent a few years eagerly collecting Glenn Gould’s CDs of Bach’s pieces at the local public library. This library had an amazing collection of classical music including quite a few selections from Gould’s recordings. But I couldn’t find everything there.
The next winter, I was visiting my grandmother’s house, and I had the chance to go out with my eldest cousin, who was nearly twenty years older than me. She was working as a school teacher and busy, but whenever I was around, she made sure to spend some fun time with me.
One day, we drove to a small shopping mall near the train station to grab a few things my cousin needed to buy. One of them was a CD, and she took me to a CD shop.
“You can pick one you like!”
She said as she hurried off to find the one she was looking for. I looked for the classical music section and browsed through the display. Then my eyes settled upon one CD – Bach’s Italian Concerto played by Glenn Gould. I immediately picked it up from the shelf and went to find my cousin.
As soon as I found her, I showed her the CD and asked her to buy it for me. My cousin had never heard of Glenn Gould. Her eyes examined the picture on the cover where an eccentric-looking young man was hovering over the keyboard, then she looked at me incredulously.
“You sure you want this?”
I nodded most deeply. I didn’t understand why she would even ask that.
My cousin brought her CD and mine to the cashier. Once we finished paying and started walking to the parking lot, she repeated,
“Seriously, hon? I really don’t get it. Why would you like this kind of guy? What kind of music is this anyway?”
I didn’t defend myself because I knew how convinced she was about my poor choice of CD. But I thought in my head that it wasn’t about the appearance, the music inside was what mattered although had she listened to the music, she might have been even more convinced of her opinion about my purchase. My cousin’s voice echoed in the parking lot.
“You lost me, hon! Your music taste is incomprehensible to me!”