The Forty-Eight Preludes and Fugues of J. S. Bach

The Forty-Eight Preludes and Fugues of J. S. Bach

The Forty-Eight Preludes and Fugues of J. S. Bach

The Forty-Eight Preludes and Fugues of J. S. Bach

Excerpt

No better exemplification than the First Prelude could be found of the contention adumbrated in the foregoing essay, to the effect that the first book of twenty-four is a work conceived as a whole, for it would be impossible to imagine a piece more perfectly fitted to serve as an introduction to what is to come; it immediately demonstrates the tendencies, moods, structural intentions and connexions of the whole coming opus. It is like an entrance, a portal, an archway leading into the temple, and it is symbolically appropriate that one Charles Gounod should, in his Meditation on the First Prelude of Bach , have scribbled a blatant tune over it, just as the illiterate tourist scribbles his name on the façade of an historical monument or building. Let it be admitted that every musician might, in some way or other, be similarly inspired to melodic utterance by this perfectly articulated structure with its aura of iridescent tints suggestive of so many possibilities, a kind of accompaniment to our inner thoughts--but only a fool and a vulgarian would attempt to supply one, or to realize them.

The construction is the perfection of simplicity, but fine-spun like a spider's web, in which there is a centre where the vibrations are caught with full force as much from the furthest periphery as from the nearest. With all its deceptive simplicity, in fact, it is wrought with . . .

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