Prelude & Fugue No.20

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue No.20 in A minor

BWV889 • “The Well-tempered Clavier Book 2: Prelude & Fugue No. 20”

About this work

The prelude, with its chromatically falling primary theme, is a two-part invention exploring its melodic intricacies at some length before finally giving way to the short fugue. This latter item, inspired by the French toccata pathétique, begins with a hesitant, rest-dotted subject that looks forward to the basis of Bach's Art of the Fugue. Here, the three voices enter in ascending order, with the faster notes of the countersubject soon providing contrast.