Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude for keyboard in E minor, BWV 938 (BC L69) (Six Little Preludes No. 6)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This is the last of the so-called Little Preludes (6), a collection of pieces Bach composed for instructive purposes, but never assembled them into a set himself. These works are remarkable in that they brilliantly achieve a dual purpose, both teaching the student keyboard player and entertaining the listener. Bach (and later Schumann and Bartók) was a master at achieving these two often incompatible objectives. This E minor effort, like Nos. 3 and 5 in the set, divulges features often identified with the composer's two-part inventions. The piece opens with an energetic, sunny theme whose contrapuntal writing is at times quite deftly imagined. Bach follows a pattern used in many of the pieces in the set, in presenting the main thematic material twice in more or less the same guise, then developing it. Here, nothing is particularly complex in the flow of the composer's thematic ideas and their development, but neither can one call it all simple, as the work offers both technical and interpretive challenges to the student player and much to digest for the listener. This approximately one-and-a-half minute piece must be assessed as at least a minor masterwork.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Erato 557841
    2015 Naïve OP 30564
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Archive / Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Naxos 8573087
    2011 Paradizo 0009
    2010 Hyperion 4442135
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2009 Dynamic 629
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 Athene 23026
    2008 Athene ATH23026
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4778049
    2007 CBS Masterworks 714847
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Aeolus Music 10034
    2005 Sony Classical Essential Classics 518509
    2003 Sony Classical 93016
    2002 Sony Classical 87767
    2002 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87767
    2001 Haenssler 92568
    2000 Haenssler 92107
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 60278
    2000 Lyrichord 8047
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25715-2
    1995 Hyperion 67121
    1995 Capriccio Records 210
    1995 Archiv Produktion 4472782
    1995 Swedish Society Discofil 1077
    1994 BIS 589
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 52597
    1993 Pearl 9489
    Brilliant 93102-VOL2
    Brilliant 93102/44
    CBS Records Masterworks 424022
    Cascade Records 2117
    P&P Classica