In my story ‘God at last,’ from the ‘Weirdica’ collection, C.Q. Daq is hounded by his unquenchable passion for the ‘Kyrie eleison’ from Bach’s B minor mass, BWV 232. The way he handles such an ordeal has great implications on the future of music and civilization.
There is no other piece I could have written about with such hyperbole and exaggeration without sounding insincere. Music has played such a big role in my life, and a few years ago, at age 32, I had figured Mozart was the pinnacle of art (Symphonies 38, 39, and operas ‘The magic flute’ and ‘Don Giovanni’). Little did I know that the ‘Kyrie’ – which I had heard many times but never really listened to, except maybe in the form it took in Symphony X’s ‘Smoke and mirrors’ – would be such a significant part of my life the closer I reached to Mozart’s dying age.
Eight months ago, I began learning the bass line from the ‘Kyrie,’ and it soon became the most rewarding experience I had learning any music. And then this October, I began tinkering with the main theme on guitar, after having been thrilled seeing Andras Schiff playing it on the piano. I wasn’t really thinking of learning the entire thing. If I was, I probably wouldn’t have gone so far with it. In hindsight, it helped to not know if it was even possible.
By a week later, I had a general idea of how to play the entire thing, made so much easier by my prior knowledge of the bass line. Another two weeks and I felt confident enough to put on YouTube a very nervous rendition.
My justification for putting online an imperfect take that lacks soul and conviction is that I don’t consider myself a guitarist who does classical anyway. My priority was providing the world with the first guitar transcription of such an essential piece. Someday, when its fits me like an old glove, I’ll upload a better, more worthy version.
I’m also featuring it on Spotify. Because it’s on audio, I was able to retouch it a good deal, using 18 minutes worth of takes for the 10-minute piece.
It feels like one of my biggest accomplishments.
‘God at last,’ my story in homage to the ‘Kyrie eleison,’ can be found in ‘Be kind to puns: 23 tales of Weirdica.’