My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Never able to stay serious for long - Bach's E minor Prelude and Fugue

Painting by James Tissot, from
Wikimedia Commons
Yes.  It's been awhile, hasn't it?  It looks like I started this Bach Prelude and Fugue project about a year ago with the hopes of recording all 24 by this coming May.  Well, I may have to extend my deadline just a bit, but I'll forgive myself in the name of sanity.  In case you're new to my blog please feel free to read my opening post of this project, "I think I've finally lost it! Putting Bach's book 2 of the WTC on YouTube."  To sum it up, I'm doing this for my own well-being or because I'm insane and I don't have any intention for these recordings to be perfect.  I consider these "out-of-the-starting-gate" experiences so please consider yourself forewarned - there are plenty of mistakes but lots of heart!  Perhaps in twenty years I'll feel like I can actually perform them all.  

So Bach's E minor Prelude and Fugue.  Yet again, this set from the second book of his Well-Tempered Clavier, offers up another wonderful contrast to both the pianist and the listener.  The Prelude is, to my ears, a prim and proper pianistic prelude, energized by a constant stream of sixteenth-notes.  It is also chock full of the voices imitating one another in a very respectful way.

But the fugue...ah, the fugue...I find this fugue, in addition to being long and challenging (what's new?), to be really quite hilarious.  Take the subject that starts off the entire piece.  Within one very long subject we hear triplets, sixteenths, dotted rhythms.  It sneaks around in the most child-hearted way, layering the different rhythms on top of one another which at times sounds like laughing, at other times skipping.  All the while, however, the sinister mood of the prelude seems to lurk in the background;  it is reminiscent, perhaps, of a parental figure trying to remind his or her little ones that this is, after all, Bach.

To read and view more preludes and fugues from this project of mine, please see the list of links to them on the right-hand side of the webpage.  And keep in mind there are plenty more to come.  Just stay tuned!


  1. Erica:

    Extending your deadline - take your time - the music you have posted is beautiful and inspiring. I really appreciate what you have already shared.

    You really have great talent (something I recognize from listening to your recordings, is so much more than the word describes and even the word aptitude doesn't cover your exceptional ability).

    In your pursuit of Bach Prelude and Fugue, I'll be there, looking forward to listening.

    Thanks for playing...
    David in Maine

  2. Thank you, David, for your encouragement. It always amazes me to find out that other people are actually listening, now and then, to my videos. It's also, of course, a great honor!

    So thank you for listening, for encouraging, for sending such wonderful feedback.

    I will keep going and someday the Bach project will come to a happy, contented close.

    All the best,