The end of some of the "sketch alike" preludes are alwats a bit difficult, like Chopin not really had a clear program for it and they tend to fade away. But I do prefer these before overlong endings as he sometimes do in his larger works (nothing comparing to Liszt though who can go on in minutes before finding the correct chord ). On the other hand, it might be the case that it should not feel really finished but rather start of next prelude. I believe they are clearly connected and fits best executed as a chain where all the tension built up is neutralised with the last prelude's deep D, D, D.
I know what you mean about Liszt. I remember the first time I heard his popular sonata (b-minor?)I was in my car on the way to the mall. I found a parking spot and waited before turning the car off for the piece to end. When I thought it did, I began reaching for the radio to turn it off, but then the piece kept going. I did that around four more times before it finally ended. I do like that Sonata, but I laugh remembering how I thought it had four or five endings, and I was never going to get out of my car.
Anyway, the Preludes. Very interesting thought you have about them. I like the idea of neutralizing the tension at the end of the last one. I never really thought about them being connected as far as the tension goes.
I am currently in love with them again. You know how you play something a long time ago, and then put it way for a long time, and then look at it again? That's what's happening with me and these Preludes. They tell a special little story and the drama in each one is so prominent in even the ones that don't have the extreme tension.(or don't seem to) My teacher pointed out some things in the No. 21 that I never thought of before, and it's opened my eyes to a new way of listening and playing these. In this no. 21, the RH plays the gentle, singing melody going along peacefully, while the LH is almost like a duet along with it - the upper notes of LH - but with a hint of restlessness, like some turbulence is coming on the horizon. And it does when everything comes crashing down on the long four-part downhill toward the end.
I once watched a player perform all the Preludes straight through in a recital once, and he was sweating profusely by the end. I'm sure I would collapse if I could ever do it. Oh, isn't Chopin great! I love him. And I'm loving Granados right now too. My husband is getting a little tired of me talking about all these great men all the time - but at least since they are dead, he tolerates it.
Chris said, "not a wrong key" but I am pretty sure there I hear a tiny slip in the 21:th prelude at 1:21 but you hide it really well with the pedal
I caught him on a good day.
Thanks for listening, Robert.