06 January 2012


I recall reading that Pau Casals, although a cellist, would start each day by playing one of the Inventions or Preludes and Fugues of the Well Tempered Clavier. It's also a standard anecdote of music history (probably derived from the notoriously unreliable Carl Czerny) that Beethoven "cut his teeth" as a child by playing the "ne plus ultra of our art..." meaning, the same Well Tempered Clavier, although that story seems unlikely because the first publication them didn't occur until 1803, when Beethoven was in his 30s, and the likelihood that he had a manuscript copy seems a bit remote.

Anyway, I am not naturally gifted musically, at least not particularly so. I love music, and Bach in particular, and have over the years slogged away at playing his keyboard music to the point that I can manage... just... to negotiate some of the 48 preludes and fugues of the WTC. And I have to say that even that, pale reflection of the creativity that went into them in the first place or even the pleasure that must come from real mastery of them, is a privilege that I cherish.

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