Short Prelude & Fugue No.2

Johann Sebastian Bach

Short Prelude & Fugue No.2 in D minor

BWV554

About this work

This is the second of the so-called Short Preludes and Fugues (8), works whose authorship remains both in doubt and the subject of much controversy today. If they are by Bach, they probably date to the early 1700s, though some believe they may have been written at a much later time. It may have been around 1720 when Bach was composing music for keyboard students that he intended to be generally straightforward and without the complexities often associated with his other compositions. The prelude half of this work has three sections, the outer ones featuring a lively, attractive ritornello and the inner portion offering development of the material and otherwise somewhat more elaborately conceived music. The mood is serious here, the music busy even if the accompaniment is fairly simple. The Fugue is brighter and features much more sophisticated contrapuntal writing. Its theme is quite angular and Bach (or whoever wrote it) goes on to develop the material with considerable skill. Here the music does resemble Bach somewhat, despite its less-richly detailed manner. In sum, this approximately three-minute work will offer considerable listening enjoyment to those unconcerned about questions of authorship.

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