J.S. Bach - Prelude and Fugue in C# Major

He's on a mission from Gad.

From The Well Tempered Clavier.  Two tracks:

These two are particularly charming!  They are the fifth and sixth pieces within the Well-Tempered Clavier, and carry with them a certain spunk and personality -- Bach was clearly writing with the intent of showcasing the tonal possibilities of all twelve keys, and accordingly the merits of well temperament.  Immediately after the very famous preludes and fugues in C major and C minor, the C# major counterparts showcase a glib, enthusiastic, thorough, and entirely endearing peek at the possibilities of what Bach must surely have considered extended tonality.  The Prelude is almost a taunt, an excited dance which dares to challenge, but never loses its friendly optimism.

In this recording, the notes sound conspicuously like sharp notes and not flat notes, akin to Db major.  I am yet to discover if the particular chord changes of Seventeenth Century works as compared to those of the Ninteenth Century in fact match these -- however, I get the distinct sense that this prelude in particular is "sharp" in nature, and constantly strives upward along the circle of fifths .  It might be due to the tuning of the particular piano, also.  Nonetheless, the persistent presence of an E# sounds like Bach's biting his thumb quite deliberately.

In any case, enjoy this set, and see it as Bach's joy at having discovered a system of intonation which allows him to play such unexpected games centered around an impossible tonic.  This prelude is purely a delight in a new discovery, altogether with a good-natured teasing of the nay-sayers, who still can't quite comprehend the enlivened frolick.

These two are played by Glenn Gould in 1965.  It's noteworthy that Chopin would always play Bach prior to public recitals; nothing else could adequately prepare him for the independence of melodic line he would require.