The goldberg variations

Rescued by the Goldberg Variations

Were this a less good book than it is, it would be called How Bach Can Help You Grieve. As it is, Counterpoint serves very well, describing the American art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott’s intertwined themes: his reaction to the death of his mother, with whom he had a fractious and traumatic relationship, and his attempt to learn Bach’s Goldberg Variations, through which he considers the ability of the greatest music to ease us out of a senseless pit of grief. This is a deeply serious and often affecting book, combining the ‘grief memoir’ with the genre created by Alan Rusbridger in Play It Again, an account of an