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J. S. Bach (1685 – 1750) needs no introduction. He is simply one of the greatest composers, bringing counterpoint to a rare high point and imbuing that technical mastery with captivating harmonies and melodies. The ‘Forty-Eight’ are famous. In them Bach explored polyphonic ideas in all the major and minor keys on the newly tempered keyboard.
Prelude twenty two fascinatingly illustrates features of composition such as inexorable bass, contrary motion, sequences, and consecutive thirds and other intervals. It is worth noting that the emotional effects of these, as found here, are only possible in tonal music. The counterpoint is layered thickly enough at times for the harmony to be obvious, but as ever with Bach, even with just one or two lines there is a strong feeling of harmonic progress. Everything seems to turn on this unparalleled harmonic gift.