By Anthony Cushing, Guest Writer
“Counterpoint is the total ordering of sound, the complete management of time, the minute subdivision of musical space…” – Edward Said.
As the listener strains to hear something at the horizon, a female voice appears gradually and intimately relates her experience of flying over arctic tundra with its vast tracts of empty land and partially-frozen crystalline lakes. Soon after, a male voice interrupts and the female fades into the distance. He decries the competitive nature of “northmanship,” the fish tales about how far north one has traversed. Then, yet another male voice interjects to relate his experience of the North. Here, the listener experiences—not just listens—to a delicate choreography of voices, weaving around and through each other, it is a musical counterpoint of non-musical voices. As the voices converge it becomes difficult to distinguish one from another, but they gradually dissolve and a familiar voice comforts the listener: “This is Glenn Gould, and this programme is called The Idea of North...”