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Poll

What's your favorite Bach Prelude & Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier?

Book 1: P&F in C major BWV 846
5 (17.2%)
Book 1: P&F in C minor BWV 847
3 (10.3%)
Book 1: P&F in C# major BWV 848
2 (6.9%)
Book 1: P&F in C# minor BWV 849
1 (3.4%)
Book 1: P&F in D major BWV 850
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in D minor BWV 851
1 (3.4%)
Book 1: P&F in Eb major BWV 852
2 (6.9%)
Book 1: P&F in Eb/D# minor BWV 853
1 (3.4%)
Book 1: P&F in E major BWV 854
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in E minor BWV 855
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in F major BWV 856
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in F minor BWV 857
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in F# major BWV 858
2 (6.9%)
Book 1: P&F in F# minor BWV 859
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in G major BWV 860
1 (3.4%)
Book 1: P&F in G minor BWV 861
1 (3.4%)
Book 1: P&F in Ab major BWV 862
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in G# minor BWV 863
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in A major BWV 864
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in A minor BWV 865
2 (6.9%)
Book 1: P&F in Bb major BWV 866
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in Bb minor BWV 867
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in B major BWV 868
0 (0%)
Book 1: P&F in B minor BWV 869
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in C major BWV 870
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in C minor BWV 871
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in C# major BWV 872
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in C# minor BWV 873
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in D major BWV 874
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in D minor BWV 875
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in Eb major BWV 876
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in D# minor BWV 877
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in E major BWV 878
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in E minor BWV 879
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in F major BWV 880
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in F minor BWV 881
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in F# major BWV 882
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in F# minor BWV 883
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in G major BWV 884
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in G minor BWV 885
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in Ab major BWV 886
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in G# minor BWV 887
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in A major BWV 888
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in A minor BWV 889
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in Bb major BWV 890
1 (3.4%)
Book 2: P&F in Bb minor BWV 891
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in B major BWV 892
0 (0%)
Book 2: P&F in B minor BWV 893
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 12



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Topic: What's your favorite Bach Prelude & Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier?  (Read 1316 times)

Offline lelle

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I recently dusted off my Well-Tempered Clavier books. Last time I remember touching these pieces was during the first few months of the pandemic, where I had a go at studying all of Book 1. I have also played a handful of Book 2 previously, but I tend to prefer Book 1 overall, though Book 2 does have some stunning fugues. I'm gonna have a go at refreshing Book 1 again, and also at learning a few more that I like from Book 2.

I certainly know which Preludes & Fuges I like the most at this point, but this got me curious which Preludes & Fugues are other people's favorites, so I created the poll above. You can select up to 10 alternatives since there are so many to choose from. Would also love a short comment about why you like the ones you selected. Looking forward to seeing your responses :D

Offline thorn

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The Eb/D#m from Book 1. The Fugue is particularly beautiful when played in a slower tempo like Richter's recording, it really gives the listener space to appreciate the skilled writing. This space isn't necessarily there in the faster/twiddlier ones of the set.

I also prefer Book 1 to Book 2 by the way!

Offline danesi

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Call me cliché or common, but I adore the second fugue (C minor) from WTC I…
Prelude is nice as well (though I certainly wouldn’t listen to it on repeat  ;))
Play piano. It is groovy!
Bach-Busoni > Bach-Brahms ;)

Offline brogers70

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Well, I love Bk1 C# major and G major because they are both so bubbly and joyful. C# minor and Bb minor because they are so emotionally intense. And Eb major I love because the prelude contains a prelude and fugue within itself, and because I still remember hearing it as a kid on Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos.

Offline anacrusis

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Oooh nice, I love the WTK. Though I have to admit, I find Book 1 vastly more varied, catchy and interesting compared to Book 2.

My absolute favorite is the C major one in book 1, since it kicks the whole thing off. The prelude is iconic, and the fugue is just an amazing example of economy of writing, while having a memorable subject and really well done counterpoint (stretto in all 4 voices? yikes)

Offline ericapiano01

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Thanks for creating the poll !
I love The Well-Tempered Clavier!!! It has been a challenging but rewarding study for me, never to be forgotten!!!  :D
In particular, I appreciated the organ-style fugues, such as fugue in Eb-major (BWV876, Bk2), or fugue in E-major (BWV878, Bk2)... what a beautiful work!
About Bk1, my absolute favorite is prelude and fugue in A-minor, because the prelude is very flowing (...and not too difficult to study ;) ) and the fugue is very long and extensively developed!

Offline lelle

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The Eb/D#m from Book 1. The Fugue is particularly beautiful when played in a slower tempo like Richter's recording, it really gives the listener space to appreciate the skilled writing. This space isn't necessarily there in the faster/twiddlier ones of the set.

I also prefer Book 1 to Book 2 by the way!

I love Richter's recording! Definitely a landmark. His tempos are sometimes too slow or too fast for my taste, but he pulls it off and makes the pieces his own, so I have no problem listening to his take on the two books. The Eb/D# minor p&f are very cool, using some of the more advanced counterpoint techniques admirably in the fugue.

Call me cliché or common, but I adore the second fugue (C minor) from WTC I…
Prelude is nice as well (though I certainly wouldn’t listen to it on repeat  ;))

That fugue is awesome, definitely no shame in loving it ;) I often say that pieces that are popular or have become a cliché have so for a good reason. I used to make a point of playing famous pieces that nobody played because they were "too famous", thus ironically making them rarely heard in student concerts, back when I did my masters degree in piano.

Well, I love Bk1 C# major and G major because they are both so bubbly and joyful. C# minor and Bb minor because they are so emotionally intense. And Eb major I love because the prelude contains a prelude and fugue within itself, and because I still remember hearing it as a kid on Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos.

Great choices! I feel the E flat major P&F from book 1 are very underrated, the prelude is very beautiful AND contains a fugue, and then the actual fugue is just a lot of fun, with a rather strange theme but it works. What more could you ask for?

Oooh nice, I love the WTK. Though I have to admit, I find Book 1 vastly more varied, catchy and interesting compared to Book 2.

My absolute favorite is the C major one in book 1, since it kicks the whole thing off. The prelude is iconic, and the fugue is just an amazing example of economy of writing, while having a memorable subject and really well done counterpoint (stretto in all 4 voices? yikes)

Yes, that fugue is one of my absolute favorites too for the reasons you stated. It was one of the tracks on my first ever piano CD, played by Kempff, so it's deeply etched into my memory at this point.

Thanks for creating the poll !
I love The Well-Tempered Clavier!!! It has been a challenging but rewarding study for me, never to be forgotten!!!  :D
In particular, I appreciated the organ-style fugues, such as fugue in Eb-major (BWV876, Bk2), or fugue in E-major (BWV878, Bk2)... what a beautiful work!
About Bk1, my absolute favorite is prelude and fugue in A-minor, because the prelude is very flowing (...and not too difficult to study ;) ) and the fugue is very long and extensively developed!

That a minor fugue is amazing, he does so many things with that theme, and yet it works. I find that fugue a challenge to make a convincing performance, it's easy to make it a bit monotonous. Did you find that to be a challenge?

Glad to see some stuff from Book 2 getting some love too!

Offline ericapiano01

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That a minor fugue is amazing, he does so many things with that theme, and yet it works. I find that fugue a challenge to make a convincing performance, it's easy to make it a bit monotonous. Did you find that to be a challenge?

Glad to see some stuff from Book 2 getting some love too!

Yes, I confirm it was a real challenge!!!
Probably I love this A-minor fugue precisly because each theme's development needed to have its own meaning, in order not to be 'boring'.
It was not so easy... considering also the 4-voices presence as addictional difficulty! It's also hard not to accelerate  :o (especially in the central section...)
After a first deep work of analysis, and after several hours of study, the result was satisfying for me!


Offline lelle

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Yes, I confirm it was a real challenge!!!
Probably I love this A-minor fugue precisly because each theme's development needed to have its own meaning, in order not to be 'boring'.
It was not so easy... considering also the 4-voices presence as addictional difficulty! It's also hard not to accelerate  :o (especially in the central section...)
After a first deep work of analysis, and after several hours of study, the result was satisfying for me!

Several hours of study... somehow I interpret that as you learning it in like a day? :D

I'm not a total fan of Richter's version, but he truly does succeed at bringing out the theme every time it appears. I think some would argue you shouldn't bring it out this much, but it's pretty cool that he has that amount of control:



Offline ericapiano01

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Several hours of study... somehow I interpret that as you learning it in like a day? :D

I'm not a total fan of Richter's version, but he truly does succeed at bringing out the theme every time it appears. I think some would argue you shouldn't bring it out this much, but it's pretty cool that he has that amount of control:



Thanks for reply !  ;) I forgot to specify 'several hours over several months'  ;D

I agree with your opinion about Richter's performance, I would add that it seems bring out above all the beginning of the theme, in order to highlight the 'entrance'. But maybe it's only my impression... Anyway, the whole execution appears well governed, everything is under control!
I like Richter's version  :)



Offline lelle

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Bumping this thread because I see we have gotten some more votes since last I looked! Don't forget that I'd love to read why you like the ones you selected in the poll when you vote :)

Offline sempre_piano

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It seems with longer series of pieces (Bach P/F, Scarlatti Sonatas, etc.), the ones in the beginning are a bit overrated, since people have been exposed to them more. If you open the WTK, it is natural to learn the p/f in the front of the book first. Most people will quit before they finish the book. Same with the CD.

Offline brogers70

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It seems with longer series of pieces (Bach P/F, Scarlatti Sonatas, etc.), the ones in the beginning are a bit overrated, since people have been exposed to them more. If you open the WTK, it is natural to learn the p/f in the front of the book first. Most people will quit before they finish the book. Same with the CD.

It's also why all the famous incidents from Don Quixote are in the first part of the book. The whole thing is great and full of wonderful stories, but it seems like few people make it much farther than the windmills and the meeting with Dulcinea.

Offline lelle

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In the case of the WTC, though, I think there is some merit behind the opening three p&f's being popular. The C major p&f is very memorable and the fugue is absolutely brilliant in its economy of writing. C minor is also very memorable and accessible to players starting out with the WTC. The C sharp major is also very distinct, memorable and exciting.
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