J.S.Bach :: Prelude & Fugue in Ab Major, BWV 862 (WK I)

When my clavichord had just arrived, late summer 2009 -O, I do remember the moment very well, it was a splendid late August evening, when we left in Tollembeek, Joris' workshop, to drive home, the precious sleeping beauty behind us in the car, driving the highway with an incredible sunset in the mirror, receiving phone calls of Joris every half hour, eager to know if everything still was ok. I felt really hard for him to separate from 'his' instrument... Life of an instrument builder is a hard one: giving birth time after time to a child of which you know that it will be taken from you very soon...- but anyway, when the new clavichord finally stood in our house, spreading the sweet aroma of fresh polish, my plan was actually to play primarily music of J.S.Bach. At those early days of my existence as a keyboard player - I 'only' was organist - pianist before- the idea of using this instrument for Mozart, let alone Beethoven, prickled my mind, but it seemed to me that I would be the only one to enjoy that music on this instrument... - but, anyway (for the 2d time), my daughter Sofie, now almost 10, was at that time just 4 years old, the age of my now youngest daughter Evelien.

Playful as children (and their daddy's) are - and knowing my lack of discipline for such a huge initiative as playing the complete well-tempered Clavier (to start with...)- I made 48 small notes, each one indicating one prelude and fugue of Bach's WK. It may sound strange to you, but at that time, I only had played a few of them in piano class in Amsterdam... I was an organist, you know... So, all these little notes would end up being hidden in a washing cloth, and Sofie was asked to grab one of the little notes. Her 'choice' was mine, and I started to prepare the chosen piece. that prevented me from choosing the 'easiest' pieces first... I told you, in essence, I'm lazy. Working is the only tool that prevents me from being what I am in essence... it helps, thanks God.

As she (Sofie) had a hard time to go to bed alone, Anja and I regularly stayed somewhere close to her bedroom, and as it often happened that she really was a difficult sleeper (as she still is), I took the WK with me to write a fingering for the new to study piece.

That turned out to be a great exercise, feeling the keys while sitting in a chair or even lying in bed. Once I was able to play it, Sofie would choose another one.

I continued this strictly until about 24 were done, strangely enough perfectly divided over the two books. There was so much more music to discover, and the WK had to rest. Until I started this YouTube channel.

I started actually on YT with some preludes & fugues, of both books, but as you might have noticed, the last months, I focus on the first book. I'd love to present you one pr&f every month, but that would require to increase the number of recordings I would have to make. And it's crazy enough as it is today :-).

So, working on the first part of the WK, slowly but steadily, I face new (to me) pieces, as this one in A flat Major. it is not an easy one, and although I don't know where that old washing cloth with 24 notes left, is nowadays, the Ab Major note will remain always in, although it is on my repertoire from today on!

Related Videos