The Well-Tempered Clavier with Chopin’s performing annotations
Chopin constantly turned to Bach as a supreme point of reference. The Well-Tempered Clavier is said to be the only score he took with him to Majorca in the winter of 1838-39, at the time he was completing his 24 Preludes op.28.
The influence of Bach on Chopin’s compositional style is indeed a powerful one. It can be detected at various levels throughout his works, from the youthful Sonata op. 4 to the late Sonata op. 65 for cello. The essentially linear conception that predominates in his development of musical ideas—the logical, elegant voice leading—appears to stem from an intimate connection with the work of J.S. Bach.
Until now the important role played by the Well-Tempered Clavier in Chopin’s teaching has been known on the basis of literary sources. The document published here for the first time confirms it with living proof of a different kind, a live record, so to speak, of his teaching.
Leafing through the pages of this copy of the Well-Tempered Clavier I, one cannot fail to be struck by the neatness with which the signs and words indicating tempo, metronome marks, phrasing, articulation, dynamics, left-hand octaves, and so on, have been notated.