Six little preludes

Six little preludes

BWV 933-938 performed by Benjamin Alard
Paushuize, Utrecht

  • Menu
  • BWV 933 (C major)
  • BWV 934 (C minor)
  • BWV 935 (D minor)
  • BWV 936 (D major)
  • BWV 937 (E major)
  • BWV 938 (E minor)

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Mini Wohltemperirte Clavier

Teaching material as preparation for larger works

Here, we hear the everyday Bach. He must always have had a lot of smaller and simpler pieces scattered about at home, as a source of inspiration for all sorts of purposes. This set of six preludes is a case in point. Although they were not kept as a set in sources from Bach’s own time, the reference to “6 Praeludien für Anfänger auf dem Clavier” in 1790 in the estate of Bach’s son Carl Philip Emmanuel does point in that direction. And one of Bach’s last pupils, Johann Christiann Kittel (1732-1809), had a manuscript he had copied himself of these six preludes “for beginners on the keyboard”.

So the set served as teaching material for Bach’s pupils. It almost seems to be a preparation for the Wohltemperirte Clavier, with a prelude in C major and minor, D major and minor, and E major and minor. It also involves four different time signatures and various types of style, such as the Italian trio sonata of BWV 936 with its characteristic two melody lines above a roving bass. At the same time, Bach drew on the reservoir of this type of smaller piece for composing his larger works. For instance, the Prelude in C minor, BWV 934 is clearly the twin of the courante from the French suite in the same key signature, BWV 813. One ended up in the suite and the other in this set, along with five other versatile little miniatures.

Six little preludes
harpsichord works

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Benjamin Alard

“Benjamin Alard explains how you make a harpsichord sing.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    11 March 2016
  • Recording date
    1 March 2015
  • Location
    Paushuize, Utrecht
  • Harpsichordist
    Benjamin Alard
  • Harpsichord
    Joel Katzman after Joannes Couchet, ca. 1650.
  • Film director and editor
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Music recording producers
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
  • Camera
    Robert M. Berger
  • Camera assistants
    Stef van Wijk, Uriel Matahelumual
  • Grip
    Jeroen de Haan, Thijme de Zoet
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot
  • Best boy
    Thomas Jeninga
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Producer concert
    Erik van Lith
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • Acknowledgements
    Lex Martens and Provincie Utrecht

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