I have previously made clear that the harpsichord works of Bach are not my favorite.
Yes, I am grateful to him for being the first to put the harpsichord center stage. James R. Gaines quotes Susan McClary in “Evening in the Palace of Reason” to the effect that Bach, in the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, turned the harpsichord, heretofore “the ensemble’s lackey,” into the main attraction – and thereby made the piano concerto a possibility.
But gratitude for, you know, allowing the grand tradition of Western music to begin aside, Bach’s harpsichords grate. They noodle by, so much background noise, the classical music equivalent of, I don’t know, the loud tuneless Soca my neighbor is playing across the back courtyard/lot of weeds this Memorial Day weekend. Continue reading