Dylan Jones: If you ask me

Click to follow
The Independent Online

If you ask me, no sombre moment can possibly be complete without Gonzales' extraordinary album Solo Piano. I've heard it played recently at memorial services, in galleries, at fashion shows (sombre fashion shows, you understand, the sort where models wear black just in case) and at a dinner party (although I have to say it wasn't an especially successful dinner party), and I'm seriously considering taking a copy to play during my next appointment with my accountant.

I've always had a penchant for maudlin music, something that was probably kick-started by watching hours and hours of silent movies on TV when I was young, when any scene involving pathos (and even the slapstick episodes were imbued with pathos) was accompanied by an extravagant and rather florid version of "So Deep is the Night", the heart-breaking ballad based on an old tune by Chopin.

And since then I've devoured every classic weepathon I've been able to lay my hands on, from the soundtracks to Once Upon a Time in America and Diva, to default elegiac masterpieces like Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa, The Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett, Albinoni's "Adagio in G minor", or something (anything!) plaintive by Glenn Gould. I'm even egotistical enough to have written my memorial service music into my will ("The Warmth of the Sun", "In My Room" and "Till I Die", all fairly mournful and baroque songs by The Beach Boys, swiftly followed by "All Summer Long", to give people a lift as they leave – an idea stolen wholsesale from the end of American Graffiti). And they better stick to it, or else I'll be furious (albeit from a distance).

Gonzales – who is actually a Canadian called Jason Charles Beck – released Solo Piano in 2004, and he immediately enjoyed favourable comparisons with Erik Satie. The record is really nothing more complicated than a very long portmanteau piano recital, albeit one that can move people to tears.

And as it's Saturday morning, I suggest you go and download it right now. If you're feeling particularly sad, that is.

Alternatively, if there are currently no tragedies in your life, stick it on when you've got a hangover. The world won't make any more sense to you, but you'll feel slightly less awful about your inability to decipher it all.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

Comments