[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Prelude in E flat minor

Subject: Prelude in E flat minor

>What about this one? Its performance by Gould differs hugely from all the
>other preludes: very choppy, full of abrupt stops, very different from
>performers' fluent manner. Is it because of those dots near notes (yes, I'm
>a layman:)? Or maybe it's all about Gould's interpretation?

Gould's interpretation.  Other examples are in both of GG's recordings of
the Italian Concerto (slow movement), and in some of the sonatas for violin
and keyboard: he sometimes chose to play the notes very short regardless of
what the composer wrote.

Oddly enough, in a rare place where Bach *did* write staccato wedges over
half notes, GG ignored this and instead chose to add many new notes.  The
example I'm thinking of there is in the Gavotte of the d-minor English

For a particularly romantic and beautiful version of the Prelude in e-flat
minor, book 1, try the Stokowski transcription!  He recorded it with the
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

>One more question: did Bach deliberately compose preludes in such strange
>tonalities (E flat minor, plenty of flats...) or did he simply transfer
>notes from a more regular tonality?

Some of both.  Some of the pieces in the Well-Tempered Clavier were
originally in different keys or shorter versions, and Bach rearranged them
when he added them to this collection.  (Look in the Schmieder catalog to
see which ones; I think it's also in the work list in New Grove.)  Bach also
transposed other pieces; for example, the French Ouverture for keyboard was
originally in C minor, but Bach moved it to B minor when he published it.
When he arranged his violin concertos for keyboard, those too were
transposed to new keys.

The main model for the WTC was JKF Fischer's "Ariadne Musica" (published
1715), a collection of 20 preludes and fugues in 19 keys.  Bach certainly
knew this work; he reused Fischer's E-major fugue subject in his own WTC
book 2 E major fugue.  The keys missing from Fischer's collection are C#
major, Eb minor, F# major, G# minor, and Bb minor.  (See
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000141A for a recording.)  The
pieces are all very short: in the modern edition the entire collection of
preludes and fugues takes only 17 pages.

Brad Lehman