Yesterday, I attended a solo piano recital given by a friend. His program opened with the Rachmaninoff Prelude in D Minor and concluded with selections from the Paderewski Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme in E-flat Minor. Both Rachmaninoff and Paderewski were, no doubt, inspired by J.S. Bach.
The encore was none other than Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita in D minor for solo violin, transcribed for piano, left hand, by Johannes Brahms. According to Berthold Litzman, editor of Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, 1853–1896, Brahms said of the Chaconne:
“On one stave for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”