Prelude and fugue in A major

Prelude and fugue in A major

BWV 896 performed by Christian Rieger
at home in Cologne, Germany

  • Menu
  • 1. Prelude
  • 2. Fugue

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Simple and perfect

Contrapuntal mastery as a trademark.

According to the German harpsichordist Christian Rieger, this early keyboard work, probably written when Bach was sixteen, is perfect in its simplicity. The Prelude, in particular, has an almost naive beauty. The little recapitulation at the end is distinctive, as the final cadence is played twice, lending a resigned character to the whole.
The Fugue has also survived separately, and it is uncertain whether these two pieces were actually conceived as a whole by Bach. In any case, the Fugue is more ambitious in structure than the Prelude. Bach barely leaves the key of A major, thereby placing the emphasis on the distinctive theme. Here, Bach exhausts all the possibilities and then continues for a while at the point where other composers would probably have finished off. Even at an early age, he was making contrapuntal mastery his trademark.

Prelude and fugue in A major
harpsichord works
ca. 1700-1710

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Christian Rieger

“With 12 bars this Prelude is not one bar too long.”

Vocal texs




  • Release date
    22 February 2019
  • Recording date
    20 April 2017
  • Location
    Cologne, Germany
  • Harpsichordist
    Christian Rieger
  • Harpsichord
    David Sutherland (Michigan 1990) after Christian Zell (Hamburg 1728)
  • Director
    Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera and interview
    Gijs Besseling
  • Edditing
    Augustine Huijsser
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
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