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New Bach Recordings – Three Preludes and Fugues

The series of recordings of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier with pianist Martin Sturfält continues. This new installment includes the masterful opening of the second set, Prelude and Fugue no 1 in C major, along with two from the first set; the expressive and introspective no. 18 in G-sharp minor and the large scale “concertante” Prelude and Fugue no. 20 in A minor.

Follow the recording project here:
Recording the 48

Prelude & Fugue no 18 in G-sharp minor, from book 1

Prelude & Fugue no 20 in A minor, from book 1

Prelude & Fugue no 1 in C major, from book 2


New Bach Project Takes Off from the Street: Recording the 48

Each of the two volumes of Bach‘s Well-tempered Clavier contains one prelude and one fugue in every major and minor key. Often called “the 48”, or the “Old Testament” of piano music (the new being Beethoven’s sonatas) it is perhaps the most important keyboard work of all time.
The preludes are very varied in style and often deal with a specific technical feature, while the fugues are remarkable for their wide range of contrapuntal techniques and modes of expression.

Interpreting these masterpieces is a great challenge and inspiration for every pianist and the sets of complete recordings available are numerous, displaying a wide range of interpretational approaches. Even more numerous are the unrecorded performances throughout history; it is indeed slightly annoying that, no matter how fast and far modern technology evolves, we will probably never be able to listen to performances by our 18th and 19th century masters. But we have at least some very detailed 19th century editions left, for example one by Beethoven’s student Carl Czerny (of which WTC book 1 is available from Piano Street’s online sheet music library) which is considered to give hints on how Beethoven played these pieces.

Returning to February 2010, pianist Martin Sturfält is starting an ambitious project in which he plans to record all 48 Preludes and Fugues for Piano Street.
“In recording DWK I seek to fuse the prevailing neo-classical approach to playing Bach on the modern piano with the vitality of the period instrument movement. This enables me to make stylistically informed choices while keeping an undogmatic view on these masterpieces of the keyboard repertoire”, says Sturfält.

His new recording of seven of the Preludes & Fugues from Book 1 as well as two from Book 2 is now available from Piano Street for listening and downloading.
Listen and follow the project on this page:
“Recording the 48” – Preludes and Fugues by Bach

As a free sample we are happy to share with you the recording and Urtext score of the Prelude and Fugue no 7 in E-flat major from Book 2:

Flash mp3 player

(click play button twice to start)

Please join us in welcoming pianist Martin Sturfält as the newest member of the Piano Street Team and enjoy these 18 new tracks!


Bach – The Art of the Fugue

This incomplete masterpiece was Bach’s last and greatest effort in the area of fugue writing and musical transformation.

In contrast with the earlier Well Tempered Clavier, this collection of fugues and canons all share not only the same key but also the same subject. Recent handwriting and watermark studies have shown that The Art of the Fugue was composed about ten years before Bach’s death, which of course only increases speculation as to why it was left unfinished.
Another matter of speculation is if The Art of the Fugue was meant as a keyboard or ensemble work, or as mainly an intellectual exercise, not meant to be physically realised at all. However, the fact that practically all of it is playable by two hands on the keyboard clearly suggests that Bach intended the work for the harpsichord or organ.

Sheet music of The Art of the Fugue is now available in the Piano Street sheet music library, edited for solo keyboard by Carl Czerny.


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