Kenneth Gilbert and Bach help me with yard work

Such a lovely day out today! It’s 22° and sunny with just a few clouds in the sky. There’s also a nice breeze to cool you off if you’re working. Perfect day!

You may be surprised to learn that I am, in fact, working. I’m enjoying a day off from my job, but Mom’s got me pulling crab grass. For two years it’s escaped her notice simply because she didn’t know it wasn’t regular grass. I opened my big mouth at some point and brought this on myself. Most has already been extracted from the front lawn so now there’s just a few dense patches to exorcise. My dad has an ingenious tool ideal for this purpose. You step on a lever, driving three metal teeth into the ground. Pull back on the handle and the teeth close. Continue to pull back and the nasties pop out of the ground. Push forward on a part of the handle and the teeth reset while a plate moves downward over the teeth and ejects what you’ve pulled. It’s great. The only downside is that it also extracts a plug of soil so you need to fill the hole.

I can’t simply shake the soil off the crabgrass’ roots because I’ll be shaking the seeds off the little bastards, helping them to make my life miserable in the future. As a result, I’ll be bringing a wheelbarrow of soil from the back yard to replace what I’ve extracted and I’ll seed it with new grass.

If you know me, you’ve already heard me complain about yard work. Truth be told, my ideal habitat would be in a condo. But the yard is here and I’ve come to help my mom, so the yard is my responsibility. And while it doesn’t make up for all the drudgery, there is an appeal to seeing your work sprout new life.

To keep me company, I’ve enlisted Kenneth Gilbert to play me some Bach to pass the time. I really enjoy the Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772–801 and I also enjoy the harpsichord so I went in search of that work performed on the harpsichord. I’m surprised it took me so long. The piano hadn’t been invented when Bach was around so the harpsichord was the instrument he used to compose and perform it. To my surprise, I did not have many choices. I saw Gilbert’s CD of the performance on Amazon for $35. I believe it’s out of print because Amazon wasn’t fulfilling any of the CD orders itself. I have a copy of Gilbert’s harpsichord performance of The Art of Fugue which I enjoy, and the recording is very good. I order the CD and it’s worth every penny. It’ll be difficult to listen to the piece performed on a piano from here on.

And wouldn’t you know it? About a month later, I discovered that Archiv Produktion released a ten CD box set of Gilbert’s recordings early this year. Two of those ten are the two I already own. Regardless, for $39.30 I’m enjoying eight CDs of his Bach harpsichord performances that are new to me!

As I pull crab grass, I’m making my way through Book One of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier BWV 846–893.

It’s still not a great deal of fun, but Gilbert and Bach make it far more bearable than it would be, otherwise.

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