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News · Kenneth Weiss, #WTCBK1 Week 24, Prelude and Fugue No 24 in B Minor, BWV 869

Kenneth Weiss, #WTCBK1 Week 24, Prelude and Fugue No 24 in B Minor, BWV 869

#WTCBK1 - Week 24 of your Well-Tempered Clavier Soundcloud streams, with a commentary by Kenneth Weiss, available for one week.

Prelude and Fugue No 24 in B Minor, BWV 869

Kenneth Weiss writes:

"The decision to post a weekly audio recording with written commentary of each Prelude and Fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier was the third phase in my engagement with the work.

"The first phase was learning this pinnacle of classical keyboard repertoire - a daily ritual of frustrations and achievements that spanned five years.

"After recording the work, I entered into the second phase. I performed it (and continue to do so) at major cities throughout the world. Bach lovers are everywhere - attesting to his universality more than 250 years after his death. Sharing this masterpiece with a live audience is magical – the performer / audience bond enhanced by the musical presence of J. S. Bach.

"My third phase was to put my thoughts about these works into words. I wanted to make them accessible; to provide a point of entry for listeners. The essence of music cannot truly be expressed in words. And yet, this exercise has been personally enriching and, I hope, of interest to some readers.

"Bach completed Book I in 1722. Over twenty years passed until he wrote Book II. We cannot know if he intended to re-visit the experiment of writing in all keys. For this reason, I am titling this last entry 'Denoument.'

"I plan to continue with Book 2 using the same format starting next fall.

"Thank you for your interest."

Dénouement

Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 869

Prelude

"A striking key and a tempo indication define the 24th and final Prelude of the 1st book of the Well Tempered Clavier. Based on the inherent affects of different keys, B minor was seen - at the time - as a key of patience. As in Bach’s b minor mass, awaiting one’s fate was submission to divine power. Given the grief laden sentiment in this work, Bach felt the need to include the tempo marking 'Andante'. It is there to avoid wallowing and to literally walk ('Andante' deriving from the Italian 'Andare') steadily and calmly into one’s final reckoning."

Fugue

"Time appears to be frozen in this long and utterly distraught chromatic theme. The severity of each entry takes one’s breath away with its tortured fatalism. The suffering subsides periodically with glorious rays of light and purity; yet always ebbs back to sighs, jabs and jolts. It pushes forward, it goes beyond until the end. The experience is shattering."

Kenneth Weiss

A full presentation of Kenneth Weiss's recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier can be found via this link.