Prelude & Fugue No.16

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.16 in G minor

BWV885 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 2: Prelude & Fugue No. 16”

About this work

The prelude, marked Largo, employs the dotted rhythms of the French overture, though of course without the fugal section typically folded into that format. This constitutes a stately introduction to one of the Well-Tempered Clavier's most majestic fugues, despite its brevity. Technically a fugue with canon sine pauses (simultaneous counterpoint), it's in four voices, entering tenor-alto-soprano-bass. The principal subject takes off from a series of short pronouncements more typical of Bach's organ writing, and a significant countersubject also makes itself strongly felt, all culminating in a grand final passage.