Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anorexia Nervosa: Bach

In under an hour, Chinese cellist Jian Wang takes the stage of the Royal Albert Hall for the first three of Bach's six solo suites, works of towering technical accomplishment as well as intellectual and spiritual nourishment.
  • Suite No.1 in G major for solo cello
  • Suite No.2 in D minor for solo cello
  • Suite No.3 in C major for solo cello
“Jiang Wang comments that 'Bach's music has a lot of qualities that appeal to the Chinese philosophy of life: to be humble, to wish but not desire, to love but not own. This is all in Chinese philosophy, and because I grew up with those values, these things are dear to me. When I listen to Bach's music, it confirms all of that.'” From the BBC website.
In The Cockroach Catcher Dr Zhang got his Anorectic patient to play the cello that was banned by the “weight gain contract”:
“She missed the cello too, the only thing she could use to shut out her worries.
Fourteen and carrying the burden of the world.
She played a couple of scales and we made some fine tuning. It was not quite the same as the violin, but at least I knew not to overdo the pegs. Then she started playing.
“Ah. The Bach G-major”
“So you know it”
Of course I do. The hours I spent listening to Yo Yo Ma and it was such amazing music, melancholic and uplifting at the same time. For a moment I forgot that I was her psychiatrist and she forgot she was my patient.
“My grandma gave me Casals.”
I knew Casals was even more emotional than Ma, but Ma is Chinese and he was less affecting, allowing the listener to tune in to his own mood.
She played from memory. What talent! What went wrong?”

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