Let Me Take Your Hands, part 6

Welcome! This blog features short piano pieces I’ve recorded at home. It began as a project for the quarantine, a mental break during these tough times.

This month, I’m switching things up a bit in honor of Short Story Month. Each post, over the next week or so, features an installment of my short story “Let Me Take Your Hands,” originally published in The Woven Tale Press as a prizewinner in WTP’s 2017 literary competition. Find the first installment here and follow the story forward up to the current post.

This is a favorite story of mine. Each installment is be paired with a piece of piano music I’ve recorded.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a regular dose of music, and visit back soon!

~~

“Let Me Take Your Hands” part 6

Tess didn’t answer or nod, but Antonio felt sure he was right. She wanted to try using the potter’s wheel. Perhaps he was riding on the wave of exhaustion, caffeine, and confusion from the morning. Perhaps he and this girl could only reach each other after all thought and striving ran out. He said, “Te lo mostro,” I’ll show you, and then took the Saran-wrapped sandwich out of his pocket. “But first,” he told her in Spanish, “you have to eat some of this.”

Her face changed then. The look of disgust and annoyance, her clear disappointment that he had outsmarted her, was so obvious that Antonio had to swallow a laugh. He unwrapped the sandwich and held it out. “Eat. Then I’ll show you.”

When she took it from him, her fingertips brushed his. If the touch startled her, she didn’t show it. She ate the sandwich in a few bites. She must have been starving. After the gulped a couple of mouthfuls of water at the sink, she went back to the worktable and put her hand on the clay again, waiting.

Bueno,” Antonio said. He cut a fresh piece of clay, but when he started working it into a sphere, she shook her head and reached out to catch hold of it herself.

“You want to do it?” Antonio asked. “Fine. But it has to be a ball.” He mimed the shape with his hands. “Can you do that?”

Again the look of annoyance. She tossed the clay from hand to hand as he had done, shaping it quickly and capably into a sphere. Antonio found himself thinking again of her neatly tied shoelaces.

When she finished, she went to the wheel and sat down on his stool, waiting to be shown what to do next. Antonio half-wondered if she would be able to throw the clay herself, if she had learned that much by watching him. He threw the clay anyhow, to center it, and showed her how to press the wheel’s front pedal. You want it to go steady, not too fast,” he said.

Almost immediately, she kept the wheel turning at a good speed. When she put her hands on the clay, though, trying to shape it as he had, right away she pushed it off center. In frustration, she pressed the pedal down harder. The wet clay whipped around, throwing slurry in the air. Antonio saw some of it hit Tess’s shirt. Her foot snapped off the pedal and the wheel stopped. She shook her hands off and stared down at the gray drops on her clothes. Her eyes looked wild and lost.

Hija,” Antonio said. “Está bien.” It’s all right. He found himself thinking about what the doctors told Consuelo. Mind of a toddler. Can’t learn. He realized Tess would have heard those things too. People had said them in front of her as if she didn’t understand.

She was trying again with the wheel now, but it couldn’t work. The clay was far off center, her hands were too wet, the wheel spun out of control. Over its hum, Antonio heard a whine of frustration, a rising, gut-felt sound ready to explode in sobs.

Before he thought, Antonio reached out and caught Tess’s arm. “Déjalo, hija.Stop.

She jerked her hands off the clay, yanked her arm away, snapped her foot off the pedal again, and rounded on him, all in a single heartbeat. He saw anger, pain, and unbearable sorrow mingled in her face.

In that moment, he knew what he must do. For her and for her mother.

Te lo mostro,” he told Tess again. I’ll show you. He reached out and repositioned the clay, pushing it to center, smoothing its shape, using a sponge to sop extra water away. Then he said, “Déjame cogerte las manos.” Let me take your hands.

She glared at him. He saw the trapped mustang again, and at the same time, he saw Consuelo, sobbing behind the bulletproof glass at the jail. Yes. He must do this thing now, and then he must do another thing later.

“I’ll show you,” he repeated in Spanish. This time he was certain she understood. “Let me take your hands.”

She didn’t reach them out to him, but when he made to take them – something he never would have dared to try before – she didn’t resist. Her muscles were tense under his fingers as he gently placed her hands on the clay, where they needed to be.

When he told her to spin the wheel again, she did, carefully this time. Guiding her hands, he showed her how to press the clay down in the center, how to make first a thick-bottomed almost-doughnut and then, gradually, the wall of what would become a cylinder. A mug, perhaps, or a vase.

He felt her hands relax under his. Standing over her, he saw her shoulders relax too. He saw her drive her energy into the clay, pressing it now with more confident fingers, channeling thoughts and feelings and the words that she couldn’t speak into its smooth texture. As he watched her work, he spoke aloud, telling her the other thing he now knew he would manage.

“I will bring your mother home.”

~final section of the story appears in the next blogpost~

Musical pairing: J. S. Bach, Sinfonia no. 13 in A minor

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

Let Me Take Your Hands, part 5

Welcome! This blog features short piano pieces I’ve recorded at home. It began as a project for the quarantine, a mental break during these tough times.

This month, I’m switching things up a bit in honor of Short Story Month. Each post, over the next week or so, features an installment of my short story “Let Me Take Your Hands,” originally published in The Woven Tale Press as a prizewinner in WTP’s 2017 literary competition. Find the first installment here and follow the story forward up to the current post.

This is a favorite story of mine. Each installment is be paired with a piece of piano music I’ve recorded.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a regular dose of music, and visit back soon!

~~

“Let Me Take Your Hands” part 5

Antonio had never worked with clay until he came to Telluride. Back then, barely more than a boy, he had been running from his own memories. The riots in Mexico City. The police firing on the crowd. The screams he heard in his nightmares. And he had been running, too, from the constant ache within his own body, the piece that had been ripped away when he lost his home. He had been trying to forget his mountains, the great Pico de Orizaba with its craggy white summit, the giant in whose shadow he had grown up, always promising himself that one day he would make it to the top and breathe the crystal-fragile air up there. He had landed in Telluride when his money ran out. At least there were mountains here, though they were not the same. Nothing could be. He had known he would never see his home again.

He had gotten a job as an old viuda’s shop-cleaner and errand boy. The widow, part Mexican, part Navajo, had sold crafts to the tourists, mostly quilts and silver and turquoise jewelry, but she made some pottery of her own. Without much knowledge, Antonio had still been able to see she wasn’t very good at it. One day, as he was sweeping the floor in her shop, he had glanced up to find her examining his hands on the broom, moving her eyes up to his back and shoulders. “Ven aquí,” she had said, pointing to her workroom. Come here. That afternoon, he had first sat at a wheel.

He’d had no skill. Even so, that first time, he had felt thoughts and memories and nightmares running out of his fingers and into the wet clay. “Para la arcilla, se necesita fuerza,” the old woman had told him. Working the clay needed the right kind of strength. She didn’t have it, but she told Antonio he did. “Te lo muestro.I will teach you.

Now, in spite of himself, Antonio lost track of time. The bowl took shape under his hands, growing slowly and smoothly off the spinning wheel. In this work, you never knew what something was going to be until you finished it. Each piece had its own life.

A scraping noise against the floor made him look around. Tess had maneuvered one of the glaze buckets over beside his stool. She sat down on it, leaning forward to watch the spinning clay, so near Antonio that a strand of her hair brushed his shoulder.

Never, that he could remember, had she willingly gotten so close to anyone but her mother. He felt her nearness like the hot kiln, warning him to back away before someone got hurt. But when he glanced at her face, ready to look away in an instant if his eyes upset her, he saw she had attuned her whole self to the clay between his hands.

Without a word to her, he kept working. Her presence stayed there, as warm as a banked fire. The bowl rose off the wheel, the clay smooth between Antonio’s fingers. The slurry stained his hands gray. The bowl itself was slick and shining. Carefully, he applied light pressure at the right point, while the wheel spun, to make the bowl’s lip flare out. Then he re-compressed the lip between his thumb and forefinger, running the thumb of his other hand along its edge.

He was sorry to let the wheel stop spinning. The bowl sat there, as well-shaped as a flower. Tess was still watching him. In her face, Antonio saw her question as clearly as if she had said it aloud: Now what?

As he got his wire tool and slid it carefully along the wheel, cutting the bowl free, he found himself explaining his work to her, as if she had been the student he never had. He showed her the drying board and told her how the bowl would sit there for a few days, until it was as hard as leather. He pantomimed putting it back on the wheel, upside-down, and showed her the shaving tool that would trim the base, cutting away the extra clay and giving the foot its shape. Why he told her all this, he didn’t know. He had no idea whether she understood, but her eyes followed him as he moved around the room, pointing at tools, picking up a piece of once-fired greenware to show her how the bowl would look after one round in the kiln.

He had started to tell her about glazing when she stood up abruptly and went over to his block of fresh clay, on the worktable next to the wheel. She put her hand on the plastic that covered it and looked at him with another question in her face.

Certainty bloomed in Antonio’s mind. “Lo quieres probar?” he asked. Do you want to try it?

~story continues in the next blogpost~

Musical pairing: J. S. Bach, Prelude in C sharp Major, WTC II

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

Let Me Take Your Hands, part 3

Welcome! This blog features short piano pieces I’ve recorded at home. It began as a project for the quarantine, a mental break during these tough times.

This week, I’m switching things up a bit in honor of Short Story Month. Each post features an installment of my short story “Let Me Take Your Hands,” originally published in The Woven Tale Press as a prizewinner in WTP’s 2017 literary competition. Find the first installment here.

This is a favorite story of mine. Each installment will be paired with a piece of piano music I’ve recorded.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a regular dose of music, and visit back soon!

~~

“Let Me Take Your Hands” part 3

By noon, Antonio had been sitting at his laptop for three hours. No one had been able to offer any help.

As if from somewhere on the ceiling, he watched himself dial another number. This lawyer, a white woman named Margaret Tillison, was far away in Denver. Antonio could neither imagine her helping him nor, if by some miracle she could, how he would manage to travel to the city to meet with her.

When she accepted the call from her secretary, Antonio laid out the words that by then had become routine. Aside from the pounding in his head, he could have been telling the lawyer about something that had happened to someone else.

She asked the usual questions, in a crisp, detached attorney-voice. To Antonio, she sounded older, possibly near his own age. Someone who had seen much of what life could throw at a person. When she finished questioning him, Antonio braced himself to hear the usual answer.

After a pause, though, she said something different. “Did the ICE tell you how long Ms. Cordeiro would be held at San Miguel?” She pronounced Consuelo’s last name perfectly, as she had Antonio’s own.

Antonio tried to think. “I don’t remember. I don’t think so.”

“You need to find out. I have one option for you to consider.”

Antonio realized his fingers were going numb around the phone. He massaged his wrist with his free hand, trying to wake the nerves back up. “Please tell me.”

She did. Antonio listened. The enormity and absurdity of the suggestion, the only thing he could do now to rescue a friendless woman, made it difficult to fit the idea into his head.

He forced himself to pay attention as Ms. Tillison finished, “It won’t be easy, Mr. Guerrera. And you’ll have to work fast. Most likely, she’ll be moved first to Texas and then deported. Once she’s out of Colorado, you won’t have the option anymore.”

“I see,” Antonio said. He didn’t see. This was too much for him to understand. “Thank you,” he said.

She wished him luck. Antonio listened to the click when she hung up. The “option” couldn’t possibly work…but suppose it could. Would it be worth it? Should he try?

He thought of Tess sitting silent in the bedroom, her arms folded across her empty stomach. He thought of Consuelo in a jail cell. He thought about what it would mean if he tried the lawyer’s solution, and if it worked. For the first time in a long time, he heard the words of an old prayer in his mind.

Dios que nos ve a todos, diríjame. God who sees us all, lead me.

~story continues in the next blogpost~

Musical pairing: Fugue in D minor, by Johann Sebastian Bach

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

Let Me Take Your Hands, part 2

Welcome! This blog features short piano pieces I’ve recorded at home. It began as a project for the quarantine, a mental break during these tough times.

This week, I’m switching things up a bit in honor of Short Story Month. Each day features an installment of my short story “Let Me Take Your Hands,” originally published in The Woven Tale Press as a prizewinner in WTP’s 2017 literary competition. Find the first installment here.

This is a favorite story of mine. Each installment will be paired with a piece of piano music I’ve recorded.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a regular dose of music, and visit back soon!

~~

“Let Me Take Your Hands” part 2

The next day, Antonio sat in his small home office with his laptop and the smartphone he had finally bought six months earlier. His pottery studio on West Colorado Street stayed closed, the first time he had skipped a workday in years.

Tess had not made a peep since the jail. Last night Antonio had given her one of his own nightshirts to sleep in. It looked ridiculously big on her, long and striped with floppy sleeves. She had gone to bed, in the unfamiliar shirt and the unfamiliar bedroom, without a sound, after pushing away the plate of huevos y chorizo he offered her. This morning he had peered around the room’s half-open door to find her sitting on the bed, dressed in yesterday’s clothes. She had tied the laces of her sneakers into perfect bows. Even as he struggled with the leftover haze of a sleepless night, Antonio wondered how someone with a toddler’s brain could manage such bows. When he asked if she wanted breakfast, and pointed toward the kitchen across the hall, Tess folded her arms across her chest and sat motionless.

She was probably still sitting there, just like that, right now. She had eaten nothing since the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich Consuelo had given her for lunch the day before. With a cup of coffee sloshing in his stomach, making its lining burn, Antonio started down the list of law office phone numbers on his computer screen.

The secretary who answered his first call asked him to hold. As he sat, listening to the bland Muzak and his own heartbeat in his ears, he thought of the day he had first seen Consuelo and Tess.

It had been an August morning much like today. Consuelo had come into Antonio’s pottery shop at the end of a long desperate pass down West Colorado Street. Antonio learned later that she had been peering through shop windows, hunting for any owners who looked Hispanic enough to answer her in her own language when she asked where she might find work. She had the frayed jeans, beat-up sneakers, and faded turquoise T-shirt she wore; the two-month-old baby slung in a red shawl on her back; and a yellow shoulder bag stuffed full of baby clothes, with patches of its fake leather peeling off the canvas backing like diseased skin. She didn’t have so much as a fresh shirt or change of underwear for herself. Antonio learned she had spent her last few dollars on bus fare from Pecos, far away in Texas. She was running from the law of two different countries. According to both governments, though for different reasons, she was a criminal.

Antonio wasn’t sure what made him help her. He didn’t see himself as more misanthropic than most, but even by then, he had lived his quiet life for a long time. He hadn’t particularly wanted to open that life to a teenager with a squalling baby, especially when the girl was an illegal alien and former prostitute. Consuelo had told Antonio the truth about all that immediately.

But she had looked too small and thin even to carry the infant on her back. Perhaps it was that, or her big dark eyes, or the intensity in her voice that took him back to the long-ago time in Mexico City. Living here in Telluride, he wasn’t the boy from the Pico de Orizaba anymore, the one who had come down from his beloved mountains to lead the crowd and shout himself hoarse in the Guerra Sucia riots. He wasn’t the shadow who had slipped across the border, the young student with the government price on his head, whose only chance at survival was to leave behind the country he loved. But he took Consuelo in, because something about her gave him back some small piece of his past.

Now, on the other end of the phone line, the click of someone picking up interrupted Antonio’s thoughts. “Juan Aguilar speaking.”

Antonio hoped a fellow Mexican might be more inclined or able to help Consuelo. The voice on the other end of the phone sounded young and briskly American. Antonio tried to control his own too-obvious accent as he explained why he was calling. “My housekeeper was arrested. They say she will be deported.” He used the English words carefully, setting them in place the way he positioned fragile pieces to fire in the kiln. “Her daughter is eleven, autistic.” He found that word difficult to pronounce.

The attorney fired questions. “Does your housekeeper have a driver’s license? Any form of American ID? Did she come into this country on a visa?” No and no and no. “What was her employment in Mexico?”

At the end of the questioning, Aguilar said, “You won’t be able to do much for her, Mr. Guerrera. She was a criminal in her birth country. She has no legal standing here.”

“But I can pay. Any fines, or for her paperwork…”

“I’m afraid it’s too late.” Did Antonio hear, then, the faintest hint of sympathy? “She should have taken care of her status years ago.”

“What about her daughter?”

“You said the child was born in Texas, yes? So she has all the rights and protections of American citizenship.”

That is not what I am asking. Antonio knew it was useless to say so. “Very well,” he managed. “Thank you for your time.” He hung up the phone.

Would any other attorney tell him anything different? The list of numbers on the laptop screen blurred. Antonio’s hands ached for the smoothness of fresh clay, his ears for the regular thrum of the spinning pottery wheel. He had only made one call. He must not give up yet.

~story continues on the blog tomorrow~

Musical pairing: Sinfonia no. 7 in E minor, by Johann Sebastian Bach

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

Re-post: Bach Talk

Welcome! 🙂 This blog features short piano pieces I’ve recorded at home. It began as a project for the quarantine, which initially was going to be a couple of weeks. I’m determined to keep it going as long as needed, in hopes that if you need a mental break during these tough times, you can find one here.

If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, the first one is here. New posts go up on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Starting on Thursday 5/7, I’m also doing a Storytelling and Sound project through Facebook, which you can check out by following me at Kris Faatz, Writer.

The content of this post originally appeared on the blog on March 22.

Today’s music is a pairing: a prelude and fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was one of the icons of the Baroque era (1600-1750) in music history, especially famous for his fugues. He was such a force that after his death in 1750, the next generation of composers had to come up with new techniques and styles to use in their music, because no one could follow Bach’s act.

Fugue is a complicated musical form that involves several lines of melody going at the same time. Every fugue has a short musical idea, called the subject, that gets passed between the different melody lines. The subject usually also has a partner, the countersubject. When one line of melody, or “voice,” has the subject, another “voice” often has the countersubject.

Writing a fugue means that you have to follow a lot of complex rules. You also, ideally, have to write a piece of music that sounds beautiful even if you don’t know about all of the compositional trickery going on. Bach was fascinated with fugue and made a lifelong study of it. He was a master at making it work.

His collection The Well-Tempered Clavier includes forty-eight fugues, two in every key it’s possible to write in. Each of those fugues has a companion prelude. In today’s recordings, you’ll hear the Prelude and Fugue in C sharp Major, from the second volume of The Well-Tempered Clavier. 

As you listen, see if you notice the different lines of melody working together, especially in the fugue. See if you can hear a musical idea that gets passed around between the “voices.” Then, if you’d like, imagine that the voices in the music are actual people having a conversation. What are they talking about? What kind of moods do you hear as the conversation goes along? As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/krisfaatz

More Bach Talk

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

A little more Bach today… this recording is one of his Two-Part Inventions. In some earlier posts, I’ve talked about Bach’s fascination with writing pieces that create musical “dialogue.” Today’s recording shows a dialogue between the two hands on the piano, as they trade a melodic idea back and forth.

When the piece begins, you’ll notice that the right hand has a simple descending line, while the left hand has an ascending line. The hands come together for the first half of the phrase and then move apart. In the next phrase, the pattern is reversed: left hand moves down the keyboard while right hand moves up. Throughout the piece, the simple rising and falling lines that the hands trade back and forth create a lovely conversational ebb and flow.

As you listen, if you’d like, imagine that this is an actual conversation between two people. What are they talking about? What’s the emotional content: is there a sense of agreement, disagreement, resolution? As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

 

Tip Jar (no pressure!):

If you’re enjoying the blog and would like to help support it, please consider clicking on the link below to leave me a tip. You’ll choose your own payment amount and pay securely through PayPal’s platform. As always, thanks for visiting!

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/krisfaatz

Musical Conversations

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

Today’s post is one more feature by Baroque composer J. S. Bach. (Tomorrow we’ll change it up a bit.) The two short pieces in today’s recordings are examples of Bach’s Sinfonias, or “Three-Part Inventions.”

Bach’s inventions use a similar idea as his fugues, but rendered a little more simply. Fugue, as we’ve seen in earlier posts here, is an intricate musical form that involves a lot of rules, but the basic idea is that you have a short musical phrase that gets traded back and forth between different “voices” (actual singers, different instruments, or different registers on the same instrument – for instance the piano). In fugue, there are various rules about which voice can have the main musical phrase at what point in the piece, and what the other voices should be doing while that’s happening.

Inventions also use the idea of trading a musical phrase back and forth, but there aren’t as many rules about “what happens when.” The Three-Part Inventions, also called Sinfonias, use the top, middle, and bottom registers of the piano as the voices. These voices carry on a musical conversation using the main melody of each piece.

Today’s two pieces have similar but subtly different characters. As you listen, if you’d like, see which one resonates more for you, and think about why one or the other “speaks” to you more. As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

A Pensive Fugue

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

Today’s post, like yesterday’s, features a fugue by Baroque composer J. S. Bach (1685-1750). I’m running a bit late today getting this post up, so I won’t give too much intro. 😉 If you’d like to read more about fugue as a compositional form, you can check out my post here. You might also like to listen to yesterday’s recording, if you haven’t yet.

Today’s fugue is another selection from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, volume 2. This is the Fugue in D Minor, very different from yesterday’s piece. This fugue is meditative, a little sad, with a lovely winding melody that the three “voices” trade back and forth. It has a companion prelude, which I’ll be posting soon (and maybe posting the two together also).

Hope you enjoy the recording. As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

P.S. Many thanks to everyone who tuned in for last night’s FB Live performance! I’m thinking there will be another one before too long; please stay tuned!

A Radiant Fugue

Welcome! 🙂 I hope the daily music posts here on the blog are giving you a boost, in these strange and unsettling times. If you’re new to the series and would like to check out earlier posts, you’ll find the first one here.

Today’s post features music by Baroque powerhouse J. S. Bach (1685-1750). This is a selection from Volume 2 of Bach’s collection The Well-Tempered Clavier, which for Bach, was basically a study of the intricate compositional form fugue.

You can read more about fugue in my post here. The particular example of the form you’ll hear today, Bach’s Fugue in D Major, is one of my favorites.

The piano as we know it didn’t exist in Bach’s time. Bartolomeo Cristofori, the first piano builder, had begun working during Bach’s lifetime: Cristofori was a harpsichord builder who began to experiment with new ways of designing the instrument so that it would be able to play both soft and loud. (This is why the piano has its name: pianoforte literally means soft-loud.) But Cristofori’s early attempts were small, percussive, and not very appealing to many musicians. Bach himself said he thought that the new “piano” had no future. (Even geniuses can make mistakes.)

The instrument that Bach had in mind when he wrote today’s fugue was the harpsichord. I love this particular fugue because it explores the full range of the keyboard, at its climax reaching simultaneously down into the low bass and up into the high treble. The modern piano can go lower and higher still, but for Bach’s harpsichord, this would have been about the limits of its range. Bach uses that inexorable reach to the two extremes to create a powerful and cathartic climax.

Hope you enjoy the recording. 🙂 As always, you’re welcome to share your thoughts and responses to the music in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to the blog if you’d like a daily dose of music, and visit back soon!

P.S. for those on Facebook: tonight, Saturday, 4/4, I’ll be giving a short concert via Facebook Live. If you’ve been enjoying the blog, I’d love to have you tune in on my FB page on Saturday at 7 pm EST, for about half an hour of music by Mendelssohn, Bach, Beethoven, and Gershwin.