Youthful Exuberance vs Mature Wisdom

August 3, 2017

Bach, he declared, was his favorite classical composer. He was particularly fond of listening to the contrasts between the two versions of the “Goldberg Variations” that Glenn Gould recorded, the first in 1955 as a twenty-two-year-old little-known pianist and the second in 1981, a year before he died. “They’re like night and day,” Jobs said after playing them sequentially one afternoon. “The first is an exuberant, young, brilliant piece, played so fast it’s a revelation. The later one is so much more sparce and stark. You sense a very deep soul who’s been through a lot in life. It’s deeper and wiser.” Jobs was on his third medical leave that afternoon when he played both versions, and I asked which he liked better. “Gould liked the later version much better,” he said. “I used to like the earlier, exuberant one. But now I can see where he was coming from.”

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

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