Bach's prelude in C major, being beginners' favorite, seemingly shouldn't be controversial as to how it should be read. This is why Glenn Gould's interpretation came to me as a shock with each arpeggio ending abruptly. Virtually every other performance has smooth transitions between every chord (for example, Lang Lang, Schiff, Goulda – the last one being clavichord). Therefore I decided to check what the score really says.
My beginner's reading is that it is Gould who is right, for the following reasons:
- high note of each chord is a sixteenth note just like the ones preceding it, as a sort of confirmation there's even a pause saying "play no further",
- lack of pedal marks (obvious given the period in which it was written),
- lack of legato marks
Is there anything in the score that justifies the majority interpretation? Or does it come from some implicit assumptions known to experienced musicians?