This is a demonstration of how to destroy a good piece of music by goofing around, by adding as much redundancy as possible and let's not forget the backbeat! OK, that does it. I'm officially puzzled. Now don't get me wrong. I love the G major prelude. I have played it on guitar for many years, first in the usual D major arrangement and for the last couple of decades, in my own version in A major. I play the whole suite, actually. I also love the other suites and preludes to them: the D minor prelude is riveting in its solemnity, the C major in its simplicity and breadth.
But it seems as if the G major prelude is becoming a Hit. A Top-Pop Golden Oldie. It is kind of fascinating to watch this happen. Now this prelude has always been well-liked and better known than the other ones for cello. But it has never been the kind of widely-known prelude that say the C major from the Well-Tempered Clavier is. Let alone as hugely popular as the E minor prelude by Chopin. And very far from the kind of universal recognition that the Moonlight Sonata has. But more and more it seems to be creeping into the popular consciousness. One big step was probably its use in the Galapagos sequences of the film Master and Commander a few years ago. Yo-Yo Ma's frequent performance of it in a variety of venues probably had an effect as well. So right now I'm betting that the stock in the G major prelude is going to keep going up. That is, if it were a stock. Alas, Bach himself can no longer collect the royalties. Instead they will go to that grinning fool who did the version for eight cellos.
In composition, as in life, no good deed goes unpunished. But there is still Rostropovich:
UPDATE: I see on Alex Ross' blog that part of the Make Music Winter festival going on in New York right now consists of stationing members of a chamber music orchestra at all the stops on the F line, all playing, you guessed it, the G major prelude from the first cello suite. This sounds very much like something Cage would do. But I really would prefer they didn't do it to Bach... What is it about this piece? Is it the simplicity of it that appeals to us in these dumbed-down times?