All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Six little preludes

BWV 933-938 performed by Benjamin Alard
Paushuize, Utrecht

Benjamin Alard explains how you make a harpsichord sing.

Mini Wohltemperirte Clavier

Teaching material as preparation for larger works

Here, we hear the everyday Bach. He must always have had a lot of smaller and simpler pieces scattered about at home, as a source of inspiration for all sorts of purposes. This set of six preludes is a case in point. Although they were not kept as a set in sources from Bach’s own time, the reference to “6 Praeludien für Anfänger auf dem Clavier” in 1790 in the estate of Bach’s son Carl Philip Emmanuel does point in that direction. And one of Bach’s last pupils, Johann Christiann Kittel (1732-1809), had a manuscript he had copied himself of these six preludes “for beginners on the keyboard”. So the set served as teaching material for Bach’s pupils. It almost seems to be a preparation for the Wohltemperirte Clavier, with a prelude in C major and minor, D major and minor, and E major and minor. It also involves four different time signatures and various types of style, such as the Italian trio sonata of BWV 936 with its characteristic two melody lines above a roving bass. At the same time, Bach drew on the reservoir of this type of smaller piece for composing his larger works. For instance, the Prelude in C minor, BWV 934 is clearly the twin of the courante from the French suite in the same key signature, BWV 813. One ended up in the suite and the other in this set, along with five other versatile little miniatures.


Six little preludes

keyboard work



Cast & Crew

release date 11 March 2016
date 1 March 2015
Location Paushuize, Utrecht
Harpsichordist Benjamin Alard
Harpsichord Joel Katzman after Joannes Couchet, ca. 1650.
Film director and editor Lucas van Woerkum
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCERS Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
CAMERA Robert M. Berger
CAMERA ASSISTaNTS Stef van Wijk, Uriel Matahelumual
Grip Jeroen de Haan, Thijme de Zoet
GAFFER Zen Bloot
best boy Thomas Jeninga
CONCERT production Erik van Lith
Producer Jessie Verbrugh
interview Onno van Ameijde
Acknowledgements Lex Martens and Provincie Utrecht

Vocal Texts




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