Fugue in C major

Fugue in C major

BWV 953 performed by Pierre Hantaï
at home in Chevreuse, France

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

In-between pieces

For moments when the harpsichord is free

Bach’s home was probably often a busy one. Bach had a large family and students, friends and colleagues of father Bach would have visited regularly. So there would not always have been time to play a prelude and fugue of many pages or a whole suite. For times when the harpsichord was free for a moment, the keyboard book that Bach compiled for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann provided plenty of in-between pieces.

This Fugue in C major, BWV 953, gives the impression of being just such a piece. The two rests at the beginning – one slightly longer and one very short – mean that the piece nearly stumbles over itself at the start. This rather short-winded opening is followed by a breathless movement of semiquavers that are passed on from one part to another without interruption anywhere. It is a concentrated, short explosion of musical inventions and harmonic excursions. And it’s over almost before you know it.

Pieces like this are not heard very often. They are usually too short to record on CD or play in concert. As harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï says and does himself, it is typically music to be played or listened to at home. And then not necessarily as part of a musical programme, but just as a delightful little interlude on a rainy day. Thanks to modern technology, everyone can now enjoy such living-room gems in this way.  

Fugue in C major
harpsichord works
Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Special notes
Part of an exercise book of keyboard music that Bach compiled especially for his eldest son.

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï

“It is one long string of sixteenth notes. It's supposed to give you a bit of an agitated feeling.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    28 April 2017
  • Recording date
    16 September 2016
  • Location
    Chevreuse, France
  • Harpsichordist
    Pierre Hantaï
  • Harpsichord
    William Dowd (1984) and Bruce Kennedy (1994) France, after Michael Mietke
  • Director
    Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera and interview
    Gijs Besseling
  • Producer
    Hanna Schreuders

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