Derulux, Hakki, and everyone else:
When you buy a score, is it an issue for you whether it has fingerings or not? I've been surprised that a number of people here, including some fairly advanced people, do seem to consider it.
I hadn't thought of it in years, actually never. When I was a kid starting out, all the scores that I got had fingerings, so I never thought of it. Then after a while, it just didn't matter, so I never thought of it either.
I can see that it's a factor for beginners. But really, I would have thought that once someone advances beyond the early stages, being able to do fingerings is a pretty elementary part of what goes along with being able to play at that level -- plus, as Hakki said, it's very individual and personal, so what's written in the score isn't necessarily going to be useful.
Yeah, I think hakki and pianoloverus have provided great responses. Overall, I really try not to over-think fingerings, whether they're provided or not, but let my do my best to answer your question from my perspective.
For me, I don't really mind the fingering being there because I can always ignore it, but I find that for some passages it can help to see what others have come up with. Sometimes you could spend an hour working up different fingerings for troubling and long sections, but you can save yourself 59 minutes if a fingering is written that you like. So, for me, fingerings are really about economy of time.
I've heard people say that having certain fingerings provided by the composer gives you a sense of what the composer intended. I've heard this idea repeated many times, so I feel it should be brought up, but it's not an idea I necessarily subscribe to. I feel that if you can read music at all, you should be able to figure this out without the fingerings. Example: the 42-42 in Mazzeppa. It's CONSTANTLY questioned. 42-42 detaches the notes, so you get a "horsey" sound. Or it's more staccato. Or many of the other various arguments. But if Liszt wanted to write staccato, he has a very nice little "dot" capable of indicating that. Or detached. Or marcato. Or legato. Or any other nuance he wanted to indicate. Fingering, however, is more intuitive, more subjective than a "dot" on a page to indicate staccato, so I feel if you are trying to be exact about how you want something played, fingering is not the best or most precise way to indicate it.
To bring this full circle to the prelude in question, look at measure 7 starting on beat 2.5: the fingering I worked out is:
13-4 | 125-124 | 1235-124 | 125-125 | 125-125-125 | 125-125 | 134-134-134 | 135-145 | 1-x |
This could very easily be:
13-4 | 125-123
5-125 | 125-125-125 | 13
5 | 134-134-134 | 135-145 | 1-x |
And you won't (or shouldn't) change a dang thing about the music other than the potential ease with which the fingering fits into your hands.
The fingering is there to help you get at the music. If a different fingering makes more sense or works better for you to illuminate that particular passage, then use it. Worst thing you can do is stubbornly use a fingering that doesn't work for you because "someone else wrote it in there and now you have to use it."
I think it's also a very good habit to get into developing your own fingerings, because it forces you to look more technically at passages, really get into the music, try to determine the intent, and then discover how your hand can perform it easily. I feel this habit breeds better pianists because you really learn a different way to look at the music, and I think the more ways you can look at the music, the better your interpretations will be.