Sonata in A minor

Sonata in A minor

BWV 967 performed by Emmanuel Frankenberg
at Broedergemeente, Zeist

Behind the music


Italian style exercise

A very early work by Bach that forms a prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier

Not much is known about this work. It is not dated and neither is it part of a larger collection. Based on musical arguments, however, we can fortunately say something about it. It must be an early work; probably still from Bach’s time in Arnstadt - from 1703 to 1705. Bach was just twenty or so at the time, and his style was still developing. Eager to learn, he pounced on all the music he could find, whether it came from Northern Germany, Southern Germany, France or Italy. Many of Bach’s works from this period are style exercises.

This sonata is a style exercise in the Italian sonata form. Around 1700, Italian music was booming. All over Europe, musicians were enthralled by the daring harmonies, the flowing melody lines and the strong contrasts that Italy had to offer. So in this sonata, we find a couple of things that are very unusual for Bach. For instance, he goes easy on the rules of counterpoint – which Bach normally held sacred. The significance of this sort of work should not be underestimated. Much of what is heard here returns in the preludes of the Well-Tempered Clavier, for example.

Sonata in A minor
harpsichord works
circa 1705-1706

Extra videos

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    1 February 2024
  • Recording date
    7 December 2021
  • Location
    Broedergemeente, Zeist
  • Harpsichord
    Emmanuel Frankenberg
  • Instrument
    Nico van der Waals, 1977 after J.D. Dulcken
  • Director and camera
    Bas Wielenga
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Pim van der Lee
  • Camera
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Lights
    Ernst-Jan Thieme
  • Lighting assistant
    Patrick Galvin
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Stefan Ebels, Marco Meijdam

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