In a recent video clip for the Netherlands Bach Society, the Spanish-born harpsichordist Diego Ares discusses his lifelong relationship with the music of J.S. Bach:
He is a wonderful life’s companion. You couldn’t wish for a better one. He is there when you are happy and also when you’re sad. He can comfort you when you are sad and he can lift your spirit. He is a great source of peace.
A sense of underlying order and structure pervade Bach’s music. For many musicians, he remains one of the most fundamental and limitless teachers. Recently, in my own practicing, I have returned with renewed intensity to the Six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin.
In the preface of the Inventions, Bach emphasizes the importance of a singing, cantabile approach. This is apparent in Diego Ares’ playing. Here is his performance of the Prelude and Fugue in B major, BWV 868 from Book I of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Book I, dated 1722, moves through all 24 major and minor keys. Ares notes that B major, with its array of accidentals, “is a difficult key, not only with regard to mood, but also for the fingers.” Yet, Bach’s Prelude and Fugue unfolds with a sense of effortlessness, inevitability, and sublime simplicity.
This concert performance from October, 2018 was published recently as part of the Netherlands Bach Society’s ongoing All of Bach initiative. The project will conclude with a complete catalogue of J.S. Bach’s works in time for the Netherlands Bach Society’s centenary in 2022.
2 thoughts on “Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B Major, BWV 868, Diego Ares”
Definitely max cantabile! Much of my life I have been torn between institutional Bach (rubato was politically incorrect just a few decades ago) and my instinctive desire to make the lines sing, to have a life of their own, which on a dynamically one-dimensional instrument (or even a piano) requires an ounce of this and sometimes a pound of that in moving the pulses about in time, to make it happen. Mr. Ares has given me gorgeous phrasing in abundance, plus a deep understanding of this marvelous B major piece, which unphrased is as dry as kitty litter. Thank you, Timothy, for finding this splendid musician.
AND it gets me revved up for next year – 2022 – the WTC (or WTK)’s 300th BIRTHDAY!
you always have good music to listen to thank you