This month was Thesis Month: 16 hours in the side office ticking away at a monolithic hydra of a document. I had more mental breakdowns than opportunities to delve into these lovely WTC pieces, but nevertheless there are a few observations I can point out.
The twelfth pair from Book 2 in F minor was completely unknown to me. Delightfully, the Henle edition I own is riddled with my grandmother's handwriting on these pages and it's wonderful to think of her working on the same passages. The Prelude begins by convincing you of its transparent simplicity, a baby-toccata with stylish suspensions and a contrasting section a bit like CPhE Bach's Solfeggio. But there's something interesting about its plainness that allows it to slip into unexpected places and take odd turns of rhythmic harmony. The best part occurs in the "recapitulation," in which the opening simplicity gives way to melodic figuration and bursts unexpectedly into the syncopated closing material. Very, very cool, and deserving of further analysis and time. The Fugue is surprisingly long and, in contrast to the above, contemplative piece, is very confident of its purpose in the clear, downward sequence, outlining a i-V-i progression. The texture gets a bit rowdy later on as the theme comes out in the Alto voice with a sort of drone in the Bass.
Book 1, Prelude and Fugue 4 in C-sharp minor
Book 2, Prelude and Fugue 8 in D-sharp minor