holst's the planets

#4- Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major

Scott, Karl, and Michelle listen to and discuss Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846-847. It is the first prelude and fugue in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, a series of 48 preludes and fugues by the composer.

What is a fugue? As Michelle points out, a fugue’s purpose is, “to reveal, or to play, the exact same melody in all of the different predetermined voice parts.” To Karl, Bach’s Fugue is “like a conversation between four people.”

Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier is instrumentally indifferent, eliciting a universal appeal.

The shortcomings of the keyboard instruments of his time meant that he looked to instruments like the harpsichord and clavichord as kinds of “universal” instruments. After all, the instrument for the home was, in Germany at the time, the clavichord.

The trio first listens to a version by Friedrick Gulda on the clavichord. Later in the podcast, they listen to another version by Martha Goldstein, also performed on the clavichord.

Tune in to hear more music and ideas, brought to you by Online Great Books.

If you are interested in starting your journey with the Great Books, use the discount OGBPODCAST to save 25% on enrollment at Online Great Books.


Don’t miss the limited-time window to get started with Online Great Books immediately!


  1. Chris Kleinfelter

    I love Music and Ideas even though I am a boomer and must bear the brunt of my generation’s legacy. The disdain of youth comes at us all sooner or later. The hell of it is that a surprising amount of the criticism is valid but we listen on anyway because we grew up with this shit. At 67 my mind travels back instantly to sunny days on the shore of our local public swimming lake. Girls were a delightful mystery and school was done for the summer. the loudspeaker blared the latest top 40 and we vibrated to the strains of three chords and ingested such high toned lyrics as, yummy, yummy, yummy. “I got love in my tummy.” It was way better than what some of my contemporaries were doing in rice paddies.

    Here Comes The Sun Like A Rolling Stone

    There is a road that calls,
    Shimmering with heat,
    Out beyond our walls
    As it stretches to the sun.

    On that long run
    There is a driving beat
    forged by near immortals
    at single points in time
    Like amber filled with rhyme
    Spun in vinyl that
    never melts in open hearts

    We heard our dreams
    and ate pure colors.
    Each moment that seems
    a part of it all
    still remains in the place inside
    where the road goes on
    so deep you can not fall
    without seeing the songs
    which brought us here
    riding a needle
    in a long black groove
    with a vibe meant to move
    us into a new way.
    But now I can’t say
    if we really landed on today
    or hit a wall
    that we must cross
    on our way to the sun.

Your email address will not be published.