Prelude and fugue in A minor

Prelude and fugue in A minor

BWV 895 performed by Kris Verhelst
at home in Antwerpen, België

  • Menu
  • 1. Prelude
  • 2. Fugue

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

I'd like more of that

More adventurous, imaginative and tasteful

Right from the start it is clear that this is an early Bach. This sort of fast tune ending suddenly on an unexpected note is a typically whimsical musical gesture that we see in Bach’s other early works. And what follows merely confirms this first impression. If Toccata in D minor, BWV 913, is still fresh in your ears, for example, then you immediately hear all sorts of similarities.

It has been suggested that this piece may be the only surviving work from a series of short preludes and fugues used for teaching purposes. In any case, this is how it is used in the earliest source, which is a manuscript of a whole series of preludes, intonations and fugues in various keys – all of more or less the same length. The other works are by composers like Pachelbel, Wecker, Zachow, Krieger and Werckmeister. The manuscript was started on 3 April 1709 by Johann Christoph Bach (1673-1727), a distant relative (so not Johann Sebastian’s uncle or brother of the same name), who was cantor and organist in the little town of Gehren in the Thuringian forest. This Johann Christoph probably used the piece in his own lessons.

Although this Prelude and fugue in A minor occupies a relatively modest place in Bach’s oeuvre, it really stands out in such a collection manuscript, even without Bach’s name on it. It is just that bit more adventurous, imaginative and tasteful than the rest. How many pupils must have said to Johann Christoph Bach “I’d like more pieces by the composer of that fugue”?

Prelude and fugue in A minor
harpsichord works
early work, in any case before 1725
First performance

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Kris Verhelst

“Rhythm and harmony. They're very important to me and they are strongly present in Bach's music.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    16 June 2017
  • Recording date
    17 September 2016
  • Location
    Antwerp, Belgium
  • Harpsichordist
    Kris Verhelst
  • Harpsichord
    Emile Jobin naar Johannes Daniel Dulcken, 1747
  • Directors
    Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera and interview
    Gijs Besseling
  • Producer
    Hanna Schreuders

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