BWV 953

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Fugue in C major

BWV 953 performed by Pierre Hantaï
at home in Chevreuse, France

"It is one long string of sixteenth notes. It's supposed to give you a bit of an agitated feeling."

In-between pieces

For moments when the harpsichord is free.

Bach’s home was probably often a busy one. Bach had a large family and students, friends and colleagues of father Bach would have visited regularly. So there would not always have been time to play a prelude and fugue of many pages or a whole suite. For times when the harpsichord was free for a moment, the keyboard book that Bach compiled for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann provided plenty of in-between pieces.

This Fugue in C major, BWV 953, gives the impression of being just such a piece. The two rests at the beginning – one slightly longer and one very short – mean that the piece nearly stumbles over itself at the start. This rather short-winded opening is followed by a breathless movement of semiquavers that are passed on from one part to another without interruption anywhere. It is a concentrated, short explosion of musical inventions and harmonic excursions. And it’s over almost before you know it.

Pieces like this are not heard very often. They are usually too short to record on CD or play in concert. As harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï says and does himself, it is typically music to be played or listened to at home. And then not necessarily as part of a musical programme, but just as a delightful little interlude on a rainy day. Thanks to modern technology, everyone can now enjoy such living-room gems in this way.  


Fugue in C major

keyboard work

Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach



Special notes
Part of an exercise book of keyboard music that Bach compiled especially for his eldest son.

Cast & Crew

Release date 28 April 2017
Recording date 16 September 2016
Location Chevreuse, France
Harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï
Harpsichord William Dowd (1984) and Bruce Kennedy (1994) France, after Michael Mietke
Director Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
Music recording, edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera and interview Gijs Besseling
Producer film Hanna Schreuders

Vocal Texts




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