Prelude in B Minor

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I have shared Prelude in B Minor by JS Bach before. But today I would like you to go with me on a little journey. (I did this to my wife and kids yesterday, and they loved it).

I’d like you to listen to this performance by Grigory Sokolov first. But don’t just listen, pay attention to the music coming out of his right and left hands. The right hand plays the same motive, starting loud and then quieting down. The left hand is the one that tells the story, and it gets progressively louder and more articulate as the piece progresses. 

Now listen to the same prelude transcribed by Charles Coleman for the full orchestra (including organ, I think). Again, listen for the “left and right hands.” The violins play the right-hand part, and the rest of the orchestra steps in and plays the part of the left hand.

And now go back to Sokolov performance… It sounds richer now, doesn’t it.

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Grigory Sokolov


  • Sefton Oxford says:

    I love it.

  • Tammy O'DONNELL says:

    Thanks, for a refresher of Music Appreciation101. That was very enlightening to listen with such perception. Again, thanks!

  • Dave says:

    Wonderful comparative lesson, and I enjoyed both in full…as well as my Wife…

  • don gasink says:

    Moving, beautiful, inspiring music. I am forwarding it to my children and grandchildren to enjoy and learn about philosophy of life issues you also shared. Many thanks :))

  • Wilber Deck says:

    The description of the piece as being a Bach prelude is not quite right; it is an arrangement (by Siloti) of a Bach prelude, written in another key, and with the hands basically reversed, along with some simplifications to the ornamentation and other modifications. It certainly is a lovely piece, but for the sake of completeness, I believe you should mention that it is an arrangement, not an original piece by Bach, and perhaps provide a third link, to the Bach prelude (#10, in E me nor, BWV 855).

  • Leslie Reed says:

    I think he’s playing the melody with his right thumb. More amazing that he can control the volume on the rest of his fingers so that thumb is sometimes obscured and sometimes shines through. Don’t know if there’s any philosophical lessons to be learned from that.

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