Skip to page content

The two volumes of The Well-Tempered Clavier are a compendium of Bach’s musical world. Not only is every major and minor key represented in these 48 preludes and fugues, but every shade in a vast spectrum of feelings and moods: tragic, devotional, dancing, witty, elegiac. The two volumes are the foundations of the keyboard literature and, for most composers since Bach, a never failing source of inspiration. I have chosen from the second volume the F-sharp-minor Prelude – a lyrical work of great expressive breadth – and its Fugue, which combines its three subjects in a seamless whole. In contrast, the G-major Prelude has a gossamer “spinning song” lightness; the Fugue is the airiest and most playful of the 48.