Fugue in C major
BWV 952 performed by Pierre Hantaï
at home in Chevreuse, France
Behind the music
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.
- Fugue in C major
- harpsichord works
- Release date
- 16 December 2016
- Recording date
- 16 September 2016
- Chevreuse, France
- Pierre Hantaï
- William Dowd and Bruce Kennedy after Michael Mietke
- 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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