Prelude & Fugue No.2

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.2 in C minor

BWV871 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 2: Prelude & Fugue No. 2”

About this work

The rapid, strongly rhythmic, head-bobbing prelude has much in common with Bach's earlier Two-Part Inventions; since Bach assembled the second book of the Well-Tempered Clavier over the course of two decades, the prelude may well date from the period of the inventions, although it is more extended than those pieces. The four voices of the fugue enter in the order alto, soprano, tenor, and bass. Whereas the prelude is very much a harpsichord piece, this rather slow fugue seems well-suited to the organ. Toward the end, Bach raises the tension with a stretto section with overlapping thematic entries, but he scales back the final bars into a solemn, direct, lighter-textured conclusion.