BWV 895

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Prelude and fugue in A minor

BWV 895 performed by Kris Verhelst
at home in Antwerpen, België

"Rhythm and harmony. They're very important to me and they are strongly present in Bach's music."

I’d like more of that

More adventurous, imaginative and tasteful.

Right from the start it is clear that this is an early Bach. This sort of fast tune ending suddenly on an unexpected note is a typically whimsical musical gesture that we see in Bach’s other early works. And what follows merely confirms this first impression. If Toccata in D minor, BWV 913, is still fresh in your ears, for example, then you immediately hear all sorts of similarities.

It has been suggested that this piece may be the only surviving work from a series of short preludes and fugues used for teaching purposes. In any case, this is how it is used in the earliest source, which is a manuscript of a whole series of preludes, intonations and fugues in various keys – all of more or less the same length. The other works are by composers like Pachelbel, Wecker, Zachow, Krieger and Werckmeister. The manuscript was started on 3 April 1709 by Johann Christoph Bach (1673-1727), a distant relative (so not Johann Sebastian’s uncle or brother of the same name), who was cantor and organist in the little town of Gehren in the Thuringian forest. This Johann Christoph probably used the piece in his own lessons.

Although this Prelude and fugue in A minor occupies a relatively modest place in Bach’s oeuvre, it really stands out in such a collection manuscript, even without Bach’s name on it. It is just that bit more adventurous, imaginative and tasteful than the rest. How many pupils must have said to Johann Christoph Bach “I’d like more pieces by the composer of that fugue”?


BWV
895

Title
Prelude and fugue in A minor

genre
keyboard work

year
early work, in any case before 1725

city
unknown

First performance
unknown

Cast & Crew

Release date 16 June 2017
Recording date 17 September 2016
Location Antwerp, Belgium
harpsichordist Kris Verhelst
Harpsichord Emile Jobin naar Johannes Daniel Dulcken, 1747
directors Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
MUSIC PRODUCTION, EDITING AND MIX Guido Tichelman
Camera and interview Gijs Besseling
PRODUCTION Hanna Schreuders

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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