Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 24 in B minor (WTC I/24), BWV 869 (BC L103)

    Description by James Reel

    Book I of the Well Tempered Clavier closes with some of the most ambitious music in the collection. First, the prelude may sound thin-textured, but it actually employs fugal counterpoint over a steadily jogging bass line -- a far more complex piece than it may seem to the casual ear. Then comes the fugue, the longest and grandest in the set. The Largo tempo marking has something to do with the length, naturally, but the work inherently requires room to stretch out. The extended subject uses all the notes of the chromatic scale. Thus, it's a twelve-tone composition written nearly two centuries before Schoenberg championed dodecaphony, although Bach does not employ any of the techniques of manipulation Schoenberg would rely on; his goal is to write a well-ordered Baroque fugue. It's a four-voice fugue, with the voices entering in the alto, tenor, bass, and finally soprano, but as in the prelude, Bach avoids dense textures at all times.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Prelude
    2. Fugue

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 BIS BIS 2217
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon B002119902
    2014 Sono Luminus DSL 92183
    2013 Mirare MIR 235
    2012 Entertainment Group 1114
    2012 The Entertainment Group 1118A
    2012 Entertainment Group 1118
    2012 Entertainment Group 12701
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94398
    2010 EtCetera Records 1390
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Decca
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Brilliant Classics 8909
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 714796
    2008 Motette 12101
    2007 Decca 4758592
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Vista Vera 88
    2006 Decca 4751932
    2002 Madacy 5521
    2002 Madacy 5524
    2000 Signum UK 11100
    2000 Naxos 554160
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 1951285
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Philips 456766
    1999 Sony Classical 64226
    1999 Philips 462232
    1994 Madacy 5636
    Madacy 56362
    Vox 8766
    Analekta 4037
    Pavane 7029
    Arlecchino 17
    Analekta 23014
    Cascade Records 2130