Hi, there. I am wondering exactly how this piece should be played stylistically. Is it true that the right hand should sing out during the running 8th notes and the left hand should back off and vice versa? I understand there should be little dynamic change in this era of music as the harpsichord was never really capable of changing dymanics at the time of Bach. I looked up this recording of Angela Hewitt's version and it is not what I expected. She plays it much quicker than the music suggests, with some dynamic changes and there is no difference in volume between the right and left hand subjects. I ask because I am preparing it for an exam. Thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRVO...0F1C6BD2C2CB1A&feature=results_video
Our modern piano allows a far greater range of expression and dynamics compared to Baroque harpsichord, so I don't see why we should we play Bach as if we are playing him on a harpsichord.
A few comments about this piece. The texture of this piece suggests a lively orchestra-like piece. The 16th notes pattern are more typical of those found in faster baroque pieces. This particular Prelude has been misunderstood quite often and a lot of editors suggest slower speed of around 50-60 per quarter note. I would suggest around 70-80 per quarter note; so Hewitt's tempo is quite spot on.
Think more orchestrally for this piece. You could perhaps assign instruments to the lines in this piece e.g. the left hand could be imagined as cello. For contrapuntal baroque pieces such as this where all the lines have their moments, we don't do drastic dynamic contrast between the lines i.e LH and RH. You can still contrast the quality of the tone. So for example, in bar 1 where the RH has the theme, you could play it with fully curved finger with the tips near the nail pressing the keys while the left hand plays with flatter parts of the fingers. Experiment with some dynamic changes in the piece as well. Bach does include dynamics markings for his orchestral pieces; I'm sure if harpsichords of that time allows dynamic changes (some did, but the mechanism was not controlled by fingers) he would have incorporated dynamic changes into his keyboard music.