Fugue in C major

Fugue in C major

BWV 952 performed by Pierre Hantaï
at home in Chevreuse, France

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Credits
Credits

Sidelined

What if this fugue were to change places with BWV 846 or 870?

As this fugue is not part of Bach’s great keyboard cycles, it disappeared from sight, along with many other ‘separate fugues’. And yet this lively piece with tastefully harmonic twists and turns would not look out of place in the Wohltemperirte Clavier. While Bach did include other ‘separate’ fugues in the series later on, this one got away.

Since the late nineteenth century, BWV 952 has often been included in editions of ‘little preludes and fugues’. This led to the fugue becoming unjustly sidelined. It went from being not-quite-WTC to ‘minor’ exercise material for beginners. Context is everything.

Fortunately, Bach’s ‘separate’ harpsichord and organ music also continued to be played. And in the hands of a harpsichordist like Pierre Hantaï, the quality of this fugue becomes suddenly clear again, and we realise why the music has survived. It is easy to imagine that Bach may indeed have considered including this fugue in the Wohltemperirte Clavier. And it might actually be a good test to listen to BWV 952 in the place of one of the two C major fugues in the Wohltemperirte Clavier. New context – new evaluation.

BWV
952
Title
Fugue in C major
Instrument
Harpsichord
Genre
harpsichord works
Year
unknown
City
Weimar?

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï

“The theme reminds me of an organ piece. You can hear the pedal as it were.”

Vocal texs

Original

Translation

Credits

  • Release date
    16 December 2016
  • Recording date
    16 September 2016
  • Location
    Chevreuse, France
  • Harpsichordist
    Pierre Hantaï
  • Harpsichord
    William Dowd and Bruce Kennedy after Michael Mietke
  • Director
    Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera and interview
    Gijs Besseling
  • Producer film
    Hanna Schreuders
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