Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 Prelude in E-flat major

Friedrich Gulda

Well Tempered Clavier

Is the single best piece of work I have listened to. Every time I am listening to something besides Bach, or the WTC I find myself yearning to listen to Well Tempered Clavier. Fugues have got to be 90% of the reason I love Bach or even anything to do with music. I live for fugues. The moment the Fugue in C major from book one hits my ear drums I am instantly transfixed. The way it builds off of the first theme is irreplaceable. It takes me to another world and instantly reminds me of why I am studying music. 

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. 

(text: J.J. Eigeldinger)


Bach -  Well Tempered Clavier Book II, Fugue in E Major

Glenn Gould, Pianist

This is by far my most favorite fugue in the world!