Prelude & Fugue No.2

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.2 in C minor

BWV847 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude & Fugue No. 2”

Recommended recording

Curated by Maryna Boiko, Primephonic Curator

About this work

This prelude, like its predecessor in C major, is known to virtually every keyboard student. Its first half is fast and motoric, with a little tick-tock figure occurring on the downbeats. A transitional passage brings some relief from the driven nature of the rhythm, and this dissolves into a brief toccata that retains a kinship to the earlier music even as it surges up and down the keyboard. The fugue offers surprising contrast: a studied, rather playful figure consisting of a triplet, almost a little trill, followed by two more notes. This figure repeats and spins out enough material to support a multivoice fugue, maintaining a strong presence even during an episode of otherwise generic passagework.