Difficult, mysterious and problematic, in other words. The Well-Tempered Clavier (German: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier),  BWV 846–893, is a collection of solo keyboard music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.He gave the title to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, dated 1722, composed "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study". In each of the two parts of the Wohltemperirte Clavier, he brought together the musical couple prelude and fugue 24 times; twelve in minor keys and twelve in major. Well temperament (also good temperament, circular or circulating temperament) is a type of tempered tuning described in 20th-century music theory.The term is modeled on the German word wohltemperiert.This word also appears in the title of J.S. (More on temperaments in a later essay.). Before the late Baroque, keyboard and other “fixed pitch” instruments featured a number of different temperaments which meant that certain keys would be more in-tune than our contemporary (equal temperament) standard, while other keys would sound noticeably off. . Exploring every major and minor key in an exhaustive manner, it was initially extremely innovative and has stood the test of time. The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the most important foundational keyboard works ever composed. Whether you are a musician yourself, or if you just love this music, please stop by send me comments and recommendations. In 1728, the music theorist Johann David Heinichen therefore classified C-sharp major as one of the ‘superfluous keys’. It's hard to imagine too many other musicians with as varied a career and as diverse a set of repertoire as pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.Nonetheless, the Moscow Conservatory graduate still has his feet firmly planted in his Russian heritage, this new recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier on longtime partner Decca being no exception. The Well-Tempered Clavier wasn't written for musicians to perform, but rather to help musicians tune keyboard instruments such as harpsichords, pianos, and clavichords. It explores the intricacies of each of the 12 major and 12 minor keys and constitutes the largest-scale and most-influential undertaking for … Sign in to disable ALL ads. They were keys that existed ‘on the borders of the musical world”. Without going into too much detail on split keys, various tuning temperaments, and the musical import of these we shall frame The Well-Tempered Clavier this way: this volume was the first to feature music written in each major and minor key, to be played on an instrument which could accommodate all keys. The episode has an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes and has an average rating of 8.2 out of 10, based on 19 reviews. 1 in C Major, BWV 846," "The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Fugue No. Well-tempered clavier spans a huge range. András Schiff’s two versions of the ‘48’ remain timeless classics. And we can’t complete the task without the financial support of our patrons. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, I had booked several concerts for local schools, a performance trip to Chicago, a potential trip to Florida to play some piano four-hands works with a great friend, a musical, a benefit concert (performed 3 times in a single day), and a few weddings and local entertainment gigs. Bach described the target group for this collection of pieces as follows: ‘Zum Nutzen und Gebrauch der Lehr-begierigen Musicalischen Jugend, als auch dere in diesem studio schon habil seyenden besonderem ZeitVertreib’ (For both the education of the industrious musical youngster and the enjoyment of those well-versed in this material’). The site's consensus reads: "'The Well-Tempered Clavier' confirms a multitude of popular theories in an episode marked by bleak revelations and tragic results." In 1728, Johann David Heinichen wrote that it was ‘completely unorthodox’ to compose in F-sharp major and C-sharp major. The first part of the Wohltemperirte Clavier dates from 1722, although it contains some music that was written in the preceding five years. Tonight, join Denk for analysis and interpretation as he takes a deep dive into four of the most fascinating moments from Book 1 of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. As the title indicates, Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier in Köthen in 1722 and his didactic goal was completely clear − to introduce players to all 24 major and minor keys. Some time ago I found a ranking of each set by difficulty, and will be tackling each of the sets from easiest to most difficult. It was followed shortly afterwards by Book II which was similarly received. How Adele’s 21 set the standards for top-notch music, Best Justin Bieber Songs: 20 Essential Tracks For Beliebers, That Thin Wild Mercury Sound by Daryl Sanders Turns Readers into Blonde On Blonde Insiders, Elements of Classical Music: Science, Methodology, and Story-telling, Soul Serenade: The 8th Day, “She’s Not Just Another Woman”. Joseph is a staff accompanist for a public school district and a liturgical musician. In addition to the topics of these works, I will be writing some essays on performance, technical strategies, musical ephemera, and personal stories. The best known of J.S. It's hard to imagine too many other musicians with as varied a career and as diverse a set of repertoire as pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy. But the most common number of voices are 3 and 4. “The fugue has for me the most joyful and good-humòured theme which Bach ever composed.”. Yet the Prelude is a model of melodious simplicity and the Fugue has one of the liveliest themes of the whole Wohltemperirte Clavier. There is less clarity about the history of part two. The Well-Tempered Clavier, composed in 1722 and 1744 and widely considered Bach's pinnacle of keyboard music, is divided into two books, each containing 24 preludes and fugues, with each prelude and fugue moving successfully upwards in key, starting with C major. In the coming months, I will be taking each prelude and fugue pairing and engraving it using Dorico (check out this amazing blog for more information). As weeks become months and a return to the old normal doesn’t seem to be around the corner, I thought it was time to tackle one of the giants in Western Baroque keyboard literature canon: Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. While I did work on several sets (and a couple of individual preludes) I never completed the full 48 preludes and fugues. There are 2 books (volumes). This focus crystalized a few things: I didn’t feel like I was making any progress in things I was passionate about. Bach wasn’t content writing 24 pairs of preludes and fugues — he wrote two complete sets. 2 in C Minor, BWV 847," and many more. That is going to change starting with this blog. By 1742, the pianoforte (or fortepiano) invented by Cristofori was becoming popular with keyboard players, and Bach may have equally had this instrument in mind … Two sources for scores were used. The name refers to Bach’s preferred tuning system, which made it possible to play (sort of) in tune in every key. András Schiff (piano) (2012) ECM New Series 476 4827. Often referred to as Book I and Book II (a convention I shall retain in this series) these works form the elementary basis of contrapuntal playing for keyboard players across the world today. Das Wohltemperirte Clavier, BWV 846-893Composing 48 keyboard pieces in all 24 keys was the sort of challenge Bach enjoyed. Style: Baroque. Bach's famous composition "Das wohltemperierte Klavier", The Well-Tempered Clavier 29 In D Major: A2: Prelude And Fugue No. Hopefully some of these stories will make you laugh, some cry, but mostly gain a greater appreciation for these incredible pieces. Instead, I have been playing the organ with a mask on and fighting off the depression and anxiety which come from being cooped up at home for months on end. - Well Tempered refers to the new tuning system for keyboard instruments that allows for pieces to be written in any key - Clavier is the German word for any keyboard instrument other than organ I will be honest, I should have learned these works in high school and college. I didn’t have a well-defined purpose, and I definitely wasn’t meeting my potential. The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the most important foundational keyboard works ever composed. 20 years after Bach, another composer wrote a Well-Tempered Clavier – and his name was BERNHARD WEBER. 1 in C Major, BWV 846," "The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude No. A1: Prelude And Fugue No. Rosalyn Tureck – Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier Label: Brunswick – AXTL 1040 Format: Vinyl, LP, Mono Country: UK Released: Genre: Classical. The best recording of JS Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. But Bach was not the only composer to write a piece called ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’! As the Well-tempered Clavier uses some less common key signatures (I admit, I don't usually play in C# major), it is important to familiarize with those. What is the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. This is the first post in the The Well-Tempered Clavier and an Uneven Temperament series. Well here it is, the "Holy Grail" and "Old Testament" of keyboard literature. It is the most impossible key in the whole of the Wohltemperirte Clavier: C-sharp major. This was huge. Yet the Prelude is a model of melodious simplicity and the Fugue has one of the liveliest themes of the whole Wohltemperirte Clavier. Before I sign off for the week to prepare for the first piece’s introduction, I wanted to thank you for your curiosity about this project. Unless you're Angela Hewitt or Glenn Gould I would recommend mastering only a select few Preludes and Fugues rather than being 'okay' … Different mathematical models existed for favoring perfect fourths and fifths while sacrificing other notes in the compass of the instrument, making modulation difficult to impossible. When ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ is mentioned, everyone thinks of Johann Sebastian Bach’s set of pieces for the keyboard. And then, of course, there is the question of how C-sharp major could anyway sound ‘well-tempered’. Each contains 12 major keys and 12 minor keys. The easiest Prelude is perhaps the one in C major, No.1 from Book 1. The Well-Tempered Clavier is a neat portrait of a teenage crush as a whirlwind of uncertainty and possibility, a rush of love (o At the age of seventeen, Kim fell for India James, his beautiful young piano teacher — and, somewhat to his surprise, found his affection reciprocated. I will be sharing my notes on learning these pieces and the personal stories which make performing such a struggle and such a joy. C-sharp major did indeed remain extremely rare for many years after Bach’s day. This little-known piano recording of all Bach's Well-tempered Clavier is a masterpiece. The C major 'little prelude' is also pretty well-known for early-intermediate. Bach compiled this second manuscript only around 1740, although once again some of the preludes and fugues it contains date from a much earlier period. It's a nice, short piece that gives a decent introduction to both hands playing independently. It is one thing to learn these pieces for myself, but it is something else entirely to have the support and interest of the musical community. And years later, in 1795, another writer thought that these keys were suitable for ‘the horror of secret Persian sultans or demons’. No Fugue is really easy at all, but the one in D minor, No.6 from Book 2 is a slow, manageable fugue. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier of 24 preludes and fugues have set a historic precedent for keyboard composition and technique. And then, of course, there is the question of how C-sharp major could anyway sound ‘well-tempered’. There are still many recordings to be made before the whole of Bach’s oeuvre is online. Difficult, mysterious and problematic, in other words. Deconstructing the title of this collection, the clavier just means keyboard in German. Fugues have 2, 3, 4, or 5 voices. One can learn the entirety of both Well-Tempered Clavier books in a year, I would estimate, but it would take a lifetime to master. This is a passion project and one which I hope will excite others. The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846-893, collection of 48 preludes and fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach, published in two books (1722 and 1742). Listen to the audio pronunciation of The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I on pronouncekiwi. Distinguished Bach specialist Sir András Schiff returned to the BBC Proms in 2018 to present Book II of The Well-Tempered Clavier. The best recordings of JS Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier; Inevitably, listeners will encounter their own highs and lows. Instruments Bach may have composed this for include the harpsichord, clavichord, and the organ (more on this later). Buy the album for $19.99. In this video, Robert tackles the famous Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed of 48 preludes and fugues, in all keys. Beginning in mid-March, I have been without steady work. The Well-Tempered Clavier is a book of JS Bach compositions for keyboard instruments in each of the twelve major and twelve minor keys. Bach‘s clavier works is the famous set of preludes and fugues known as the Well-Tempered Clavier. Preview, buy, and download songs from the album Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, including "The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude No. Learn about "The Well-Tempered Clavier" by Baroque German composer, J. S. Bach. I hope to include some words by other musicians I trust and perhaps even some instrument builders. The Well-Tempered Clavier and the Renaissance of the Works of J S Bach. Each prelude and fugue pair will be recorded on a different keyboard instrument and shared, along with profiles on each of the instruments used. He titled it simply "Twenty-four Preludes and Fugues" with no reference to the well-tempered clavier. No fewer than seven sharps adorn the beginning of each staff. Watch our world premiere video stream below as pianist Jeremy Denk explores Bach’s life and his most iconic work, kicking off his artist-in-residence series at The Greene Space at WQXR. Songs start at $0.99. The well-tempered part is a bit more difficult to explain. In the preludes, he gave free rein to his imagination, and demonstrated mathematical tours de force in the fugues. This musical text was intended to function as a fundamental guide for the understanding of harmony and rhythm. . Bach was clearly more in line with Johann Mattheson, who predicted in 1719 that in a couple of hundred years’ time musicians would be playing C-sharp major just as easily as the village organists of the time played C major. It's a good trill workout for the left hand (and a notch below the two-part inventions difficulty wise). "The Well-Tempered Clavier" received positive reviews from critics. Here, Bach is deliberately toying with the mind of the keyboard player, as the instinctive correspondence between the black noteheads on the paper and the fingers on the keys no longer works. Ten years ago Angela Hewitt recorded a version of The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I which dazzled the critical world and record-buying public. Book 2 of the Well-tempered, often thought "intellectual" and "more difficult" than Book 1, is rendered completely accessible. Phenomenal piano-playing from beginning to end. Extending the variety already evident in Book I (available on 2.110653), Bachs effortless brilliance and new-found sonorities push harmony and counterpoint further than ever with a combination of ancient and modern styles, church austerity and galant lightness. The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, is a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Well-Tempered Clavier is a series of 48 compositions written by famed composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In Bach's time Clavier (keyboard) was a generic name indicating a variety of keyboard instruments, most typically a harpsichord or clavichord – but not excluding an organ. Furthermore, it is an unnecessarily complicated key, as instead of seven sharps you could use five flats to write exactly the same pitch – as D-flat major. A difficult, mysterious and problematic key. As a consequence, you can easily compare the default engraving styles of Musescore and Lillypond, side by side. About. Some neglected projects have seen some half-hearted attempts at progress, but a surplus of time left me able to get back in touch with myself after 113 days of work without a break. Johann Sebastian Bach (JS Bach)'s Well-tempered Clavier consists of two collections (book I / II) of preludes and fugues (P/F), each book going through all "tones and semitones", thus climbing the 12 semitones from C to B, and presenting a P/F for each tone in both major and minor key, making it 24 P/F per book, and in total 48 P/F ("the 48"). Please help us to complete the musical heritage of Bach, by supporting us with a donation! In contrast to the iron discipline Bach had to apply to his church compositions, here he could abandon himself to intellectual Spielerei without worrying about deadlines. It's twin sibling, the preceding Prelude, however, is another story. Tracklist . Nonetheless, the Moscow Conservatory graduate still has his feet firmly planted in his Russian heritage, this new recording of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" on longtime partner Decca being no exception. For the Preludes, the Open Well-Tempered Clavier score from Musescore was used. We are not available by phone until further notice. Each key has a pair of prelude and fugue. This idea of writing music in every major and minor key has been copied by a number of composers, particularly in the Romantic and Contemporary eras of Western concert music. For the Fugues, the public domain engraving by Kyle Rother using Lillypond software was chosen. 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