J.S.Bach :: Prelude & Fugue in E Major, BWV 878 (WK II)

Here is another prelude and fugue from the Well Tempered clavier. On clavichord. Of course, I would say, but if you're new to the channel, you might wonder why. Well, it may be an idea to check out my vlog about Forkel, which needs much improvement, I know, but the essence is there: Wim Winters plays Bach WKII, prelude and fugue in E Major, BWV 878 on clavichord. It is not the only 'evidence', if we should speak like that, since it is all about the music and not about proving this or that.

This particular piece is a very special one, and it proves that if Bach would have lived half a century earlier, he would be the greatest early baroque composer of all times. The fugue, a perfect Alla Breve (so to be played in two beats) sounds so archaic, in relationship to the much more 'modern' prelude! it is hard to play in a way that all those long notes, can sound very disorienting for the listener. And for the player, well, it is not easy to emphasize theme entries and imitations of other kinds. The dynamic flexibility of the clavichord helps, but feeling this piece as a real FF piece, one has to work around this sound to make things clear as they should be. I hope to have a few years left to keep experimenting with this!

The prelude has similar challenges, with the two voices in the right hand, being so close to each other, and yet act so independently, with a rhythm, movement (or tempo if you want), that to my feeling should not be too slow. Something you might expect considering the complexity of the counterpoint. At both endings of the sections, we encounter a natural border to what our tempo at the maximum can be. The harmonic changes double in speed and when played too fast, it simply doesn't make sense any more, or in other words, it feels as hitting the wall with a car drove too fast to be able to stop in time. On the other hand: to my feeling, it gives a nice effect when you hit the breaks on those points rather strong, not to say that I see it as a kind of riterdando, but more as a climax, that in an natural way intensifies and stops only millimetres away from that same wall.

E major. What is my feeling with this key (today)? An open key, strong, but with a certain distinct poetry in it.

I hope you all enjoy the music of Bach!

Related Videos