Prelude & Fugue No.22

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.22 in Bb minor

BWV867 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude & Fugue No. 22”

About this work

Here is one of Bach's most full-bodied preludes, grave and chordal and a bit old-fashioned, introducing an intentionally old-fashioned alla breve fugue, its five voices entering in descending order and engaging in slow, sober counterpoint. Today, alla breve or cut time implies a quick tempo, but this was not always the case, and this fugue almost requires a rather slow pace; in fact, the voicings and the naturally measured tread suggest that Bach conceived this as an organ fugue, or at least wanted to evoke organ sonorities on the harpsichord.