Hyperion Records

Das wohltemperirte Klavier 'The well-tempered Clavier' Book 1, BWV846-869
composer
final form achieved in 1722, though subject to further revision throughout Bach's life

Recordings
'Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier' (CDA66351/4)
Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier
MP3 £23.99FLAC £23.99ALAC £23.99Buy by post £55.96 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66351/4  4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service  
'Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach' (CDS44421/35)
Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach
MP3 £45.00FLAC £45.00ALAC £45.00Buy by post £50.00 CDS44421/35  15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier' (CDS44291/4)
Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier
MP3 £20.00FLAC £20.00ALAC £20.00Buy by post £22.00 CDS44291/4  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier' (CDA67741/4)
Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier
MP3 £23.99FLAC £23.99ALAC £23.99Buy by post £30.00 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £27.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £27.00 CDA67741/4  4CDs for the price of 3   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier, Vol. 1' (CDA67301/2)
Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier, Vol. 1
MP3 £10.85FLAC £10.85ALAC £10.85Buy by post £20.00 CDA67301/2  2CDs   Download currently discounted
'Harriet Cohen – The complete solo studio recordings' (APR7304)
Harriet Cohen – The complete solo studio recordings
MP3 £13.99FLAC £13.99ALAC £13.99 APR7304  3CDs Download only  
'Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras Nos 1 & 5' (CDH55316)
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras Nos 1 & 5
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH55316  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service  
'Walter Gieseking – The complete Homocord recordings and other rarities' (APR6013)
Walter Gieseking – The complete Homocord recordings and other rarities
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6013  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 3 – Friedman, Grainger & Murdoch' (CDA67344)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 3 – Friedman, Grainger & Murdoch
'Harold Bauer – The complete recordings' (APR7302)
Harold Bauer – The complete recordings
MP3 £13.99FLAC £13.99ALAC £13.99 APR7302  3CDs Download only  
'Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings' (APR6010)
Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6010  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Myra Hess – The complete solo and concerto studio recordings' (APR7504)
Myra Hess – The complete solo and concerto studio recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7504  5CDs Download only  
Details
No 01 in C major, BWV846. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 4 on APR7304 CD1 [1'43] 3CDs Download only
Track 1 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'51] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 23 on CDA66351/4 CD4 [2'40] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 1 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'20] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 1 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'08] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 1 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'20] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 01 in C major, BWV846. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 5 on APR7304 CD1 [2'26] 3CDs Download only
Track 2 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'38] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 2 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'56] 2CDs
Track 2 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'08] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 2 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'56] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 2 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'08] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 01 in C major, BWV846a. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 19 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'20] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
No 02 in C minor, BWV847. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 6 on APR7304 CD1 [1'29] 3CDs Download only
Track 3 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'08] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 3 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'35] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 3 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'31] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 3 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'35] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 02 in C minor, BWV847. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 7 on APR7304 CD1 [1'58] 3CDs Download only
Track 4 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'27] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 4 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'45] 2CDs
Track 4 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'52] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 4 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'45] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'52] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 03 in C sharp major, BWV848. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 6 on APR6013 CD2 [1'06] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 8 on APR7304 CD1 [1'27] 3CDs Download only
Track 29 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'43] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 5 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'23] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 5 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'24] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 5 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'23] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 03 in C sharp major, BWV848. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 7 on APR6013 CD2 [2'03] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 9 on APR7304 CD1 [2'49] 3CDs Download only
Track 30 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'59] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 6 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [2'14] 2CDs
Track 6 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'19] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 6 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'14] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 6 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'19] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 03 in C sharp major, BWV848: Prelude & Fugue
Track 11 on APR6010 CD2 [3'34] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 10 on APR7302 CD2 [3'21] 3CDs Download only
Track 3 on APR7504 CD1 [3'20] 5CDs Download only
No 04 in C sharp minor, BWV849. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 10 on APR7304 CD1 [3'24] 3CDs Download only
Track 4 on APR7304 CD2 [3'02] 3CDs Download only
Track 1 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'33] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 7 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [3'04] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 7 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'31] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 7 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [3'04] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 04 in C sharp minor, BWV849. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 11 on APR7304 CD1 [4'23] 3CDs Download only
Track 5 on APR7304 CD2 [4'37] 3CDs Download only
Track 2 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [4'33] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 8 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [5'27] 2CDs
Track 8 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [5'24] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 8 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [5'27] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 8 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [5'24] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 05 in D major, BWV850. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 12 on APR7304 CD1 [1'08] 3CDs Download only
Track 9 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'46] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 9 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'24] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 9 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'21] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 9 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'24] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 05 in D major, BWV850. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 13 on APR7304 CD1 [3'30] 3CDs Download only
Track 10 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'14] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 10 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [2'09] 2CDs
Track 10 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'13] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 10 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'09] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 10 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'13] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 06 in D minor, BWV851. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 14 on APR7304 CD1 [1'16] 3CDs Download only
Track 11 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'03] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 11 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'40] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 11 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'42] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 11 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'40] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 06 in D minor, BWV851. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 15 on APR7304 CD1 [2'42] 3CDs Download only
Track 12 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'18] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 12 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [2'34] 2CDs
Track 12 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'59] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 12 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'34] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 12 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'59] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 07 in E flat major, BWV852. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 16 on APR7304 CD1 [4'48] 3CDs Download only
Track 7 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [4'53] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 13 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [3'44] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 13 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [3'34] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 13 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [3'44] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 07 in E flat major, BWV852. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 17 on APR7304 CD1 [2'19] 3CDs Download only
Track 8 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'08] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 14 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'42] 2CDs
Track 14 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'40] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 14 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'42] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 14 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'40] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 08 in E flat minor, BWV853. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 18 on APR7304 CD1 [4'39] 3CDs Download only
Track 15 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [3'58] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 15 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [3'40] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 15 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [3'58] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 08 in E flat minor, BWV853. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 19 on APR7304 CD1 [4'45] 3CDs Download only
Track 16 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [5'36] 2CDs
Track 16 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [5'16] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 16 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [5'36] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 16 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [5'16] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 08 in E flat/D sharp minor, BWV853. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 9 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [4'09] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
No 08 in E flat/D sharp minor, BWV853. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 10 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [6'06] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
No 09 in E major, BWV854. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 20 on APR7304 CD1 [1'23] 3CDs Download only
Track 17 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'01] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 17 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'24] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 17 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'27] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 17 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'24] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 09 in E major, BWV854. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 21 on APR7304 CD1 [1'36] 3CDs Download only
Track 18 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'44] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 18 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'07] 2CDs
Track 18 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'06] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 18 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'07] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 18 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'06] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 1 in C major, BWV846. Movement 2: Fugue in B flat major
arranger
1941

Track 8 on CDH55316 [2'18] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service
No 10 in E minor, BWV855. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 19 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'54] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 19 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'19] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 19 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [2'19] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 19 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'19] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 10 in E minor, BWV855. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 20 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'28] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 20 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'10] 2CDs
Track 20 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'10] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 20 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'10] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 20 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'10] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 11 in F major, BWV856. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 15 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [1'21] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 21 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'02] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 21 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'02] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 21 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'02] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 11 in F major, BWV856. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 16 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [1'38] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 22 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [1'35] 2CDs
Track 22 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [1'38] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 22 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'35] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 22 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [1'38] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 12 in F minor, BWV857. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 17 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'28] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 23 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [2'12] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 23 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [1'52] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 23 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [2'12] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 12 in F minor, BWV857. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 18 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [4'41] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 24 on CDA67301/2 CD1 [4'38] 2CDs
Track 24 on CDA67741/4 CD1 [4'55] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 24 on CDS44291/4 CD1 [4'38] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 24 on CDS44421/35 CD8 [4'55] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 13 in F sharp major, BWV858. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 25 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'13] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 1 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'31] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 1 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'30] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 1 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'31] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 13 in F sharp major, BWV858. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 26 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'37] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 2 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [2'19] 2CDs
Track 2 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [2'19] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 2 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [2'19] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 2 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [2'19] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 14 in F sharp minor, BWV859. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 27 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'28] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 3 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'01] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 3 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'01] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 3 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'01] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 14 in F sharp minor, BWV859. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 28 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [3'18] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 4 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [3'17] 2CDs
Track 4 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [3'16] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 4 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [3'17] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [3'16] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 15 in G major, BWV860. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 5 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'07] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 5 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [0'54] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 5 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [0'55] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 5 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [0'54] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 15 in G major, BWV860. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 6 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [3'23] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 6 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [2'59] 2CDs
Track 6 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [2'50] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 6 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [2'59] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 6 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [2'50] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 16 in G minor, BWV861. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 7 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'10] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 7 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [2'15] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 7 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [2'03] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 7 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [2'15] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 16 in G minor, BWV861. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 8 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'54] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 8 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [1'45] 2CDs
Track 8 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'41] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 8 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'45] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 8 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'41] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 17 in A flat major, BWV862. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 3 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [1'24] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 9 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'22] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 9 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'25] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 9 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'22] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 17 in A flat major, BWV862. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 4 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'58] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 10 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [3'06] 2CDs
Track 10 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [3'10] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 10 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [3'06] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 10 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [3'10] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 18 in G sharp minor, BWV863. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 5 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [1'55] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 11 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'30] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 11 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'29] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 11 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'30] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 18 in G sharp minor, BWV863. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 6 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [3'10] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 12 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [2'22] 2CDs
Track 12 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [2'07] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 12 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [2'22] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 12 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [2'07] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 19 in A major, BWV864. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 13 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'15] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 13 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'28] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 13 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'27] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 13 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'28] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 19 in A major, BWV864. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 14 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [2'39] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 14 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [2'00] 2CDs
Track 14 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [2'00] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 14 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [2'00] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 14 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [2'00] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 20 in A minor, BWV865. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 15 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'19] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 15 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [0'59] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 15 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'02] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 15 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [0'59] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 20 in A minor, BWV865. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 16 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [6'11] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 16 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [5'38] 2CDs
arranger

Track 13 on CDA67344 [4'54]
Track 16 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [5'33] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 16 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [5'38] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 16 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [5'33] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 21 in B flat major, BWV866. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 11 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [1'36] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 17 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'25] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 17 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'20] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 17 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'25] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 21 in B flat major, BWV866. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 12 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'13] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 18 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [1'50] 2CDs
Track 18 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [1'45] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 18 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [1'50] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 18 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [1'45] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 22 in B flat minor, BWV867. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 13 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [2'50] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 19 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [3'51] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 19 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [4'02] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 19 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [3'51] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 22 in B flat minor, BWV867. Movement 1: Prelude in G minor
arranger
1941

Track 9 on CDH55316 [3'57] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service
No 22 in B flat minor, BWV867. Movement 2: Fugue
Track 14 on CDA66351/4 CD2 [4'08] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
Track 20 on CDA67301/2 CD2 [3'10] 2CDs
Track 20 on CDA67741/4 CD2 [3'08] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 20 on CDS44291/4 CD2 [3'10] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 20 on CDS44421/35 CD9 [3'08] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
No 23 in B major, BWV868. Movement 1: Prelude
Track 21 on CDA66351/4 CD1 [1'36] 4CDs for the price of 3 — Archive Service
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No 23 in B major, BWV868. Movement 2: Fugue
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No 24 in B minor, BWV859. Movement 1: Prelude
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No 24 in B minor, BWV859. Movement 2: Fugue
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No 24 in B minor, BWV869. Movement 1: Prelude
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No 24 in B minor, BWV869. Movement 2: Fugue
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No 8 in E flat minor, BWV853. Movement 1: Prelude in D minor
arranger
1941

Track 7 on CDH55316 [5'23] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service

Das wohltemperirte Klavier 'The well-tempered Clavier' Book 1, BWV846-869
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If one had to decide on the most influential works by Bach over the years since his death, the two most likely choices might be the St Matthew Passion and The Well-Tempered Clavier. While it was the Passion that—in Mendelssohn’s arrangement and ‘first’ performance of 1829—catapulted Bach into the forefront of German musical culture, the influence of The Well-Tempered Clavier has been more continuous, widespread and often hidden from the glare of publicity. What is remarkable for a work so old is that so many music lovers, musicians, composers and scholars of all levels have consistently found something worthwhile in it. This breadth of purpose is evident in Bach’s title page for the first volume: ‘For the profit and use of musical youth desiring instruction, and especially for the pastime of those who are already skilled in this study.’ In other words, Bach himself designed the collection as something to be both supremely instructive and also pleasurable. The lexicographer Ernst Ludwig Gerber recalled that his father had heard these pieces at first hand, played by Bach himself; the composer apparently played through the collection three times during the course of their lessons, after both had tired of more formal study.

Much of Bach’s later output seems to have been designed to provide authoritative examples, counteracting the growing taste for music that catered primarily to ephemeral fashions. But, almost paradoxically, many aspects of The Well-Tempered Clavier pointed as much to the future as to the past. Most obvious is Bach’s comprehensive survey of all the keys available within the tonal system. Although these had been theoretically possible for over a century, it was only relatively recently that keyboard instruments had been tuned in such a way as to render the less familiar keys more usable. Moreover, the very technique of keyboard fingering (and the standard proportions of keyboards) had hitherto excluded keys employing a large number of sharps and flats. A few composers before Bach had come close to covering most keys in a single collection (J C Fischer’s Ariadne musica of 1702 was an obvious influence on Bach) and the theorist Johannes Mattheson gave short examples in every key, but not fully fledged pieces. The complex genesis of Bach’s collections shows that he experimented with several ways of grouping pieces by key, before settling on the final scheme of covering the entire chromatic scale, from C, with the pieces presented in first the major and then the minor mode.

The very genre of ‘Prelude and Fugue’ might not have become so firmly established without Bach’s two encyclopaedic cycles. He inherited from older generations the genre of the ‘Praeludium’ (alternatively ‘Fantasia’ or ‘Toccata’), a loose amalgam of free and fugal elements that can alternate in unpredictable ways. Certainly, there was an increasing tendency to distill these two elements into two separate pieces, but, in Bach’s youth, this was still only one option among several. What probably appealed to Bach about the pairing of prelude and fugue was the fact that these two corresponded to the two main sides of his musical personality. On the one hand, he was renowned well beyond his homeland as a supreme virtuoso performer who could improvise with total spontaneity (a fact that is all too easily forgotten today when he is often labeled as a ‘composer’s composer’); on the other, he was undoubtedly the greatest musical thinker of his age, someone who could see inventive potential in any theme and who relished working out his thoughts on paper. The prelude–fugue pairing thus encapsulates Bach’s spontaneous, performative urge together with his more abstract, compositional thought. But it would be a mistake to suggest that all the preludes are ‘free’ and all the fugues are serious and ‘strict’. Indeed, having made the initial distinction, Bach positively relished mixing up these categories: a fugue might sound as characterful or carefree as a prelude, and a prelude may contain the complex musical devices that would normally be associated with fugue. One of the greatest aspects of Bach’s achievement as a composer was his ability to explore and ‘research’ a genre to a depth well beyond the norms of the day.

While it is customary to believe that Bach’s reputation plummeted in the latter half of the eighteenth century, this is really only true of his outward public image. For works such as The Well-Tempered Clavier had tremendous influence ‘behind the scenes’: Beethoven could play large sections by the age of eleven, and Mozart kept it close to hand throughout the last decade of his life. The fact that such seminal figures had access to the work before it was available in print (the first editions appeared over fifty years after Bach’s death) suggests that there must have been an extremely healthy network of manuscript copies. Soon after The Well-Tempered Clavier entered the public field at the outset of the new century, the concept of grouped preludes, often with pedagogic intention, became commonplace: witness the plethora of preludes (or ‘studies’) from composers such as Czerny, Chopin, Debussy, Hindemith and Shostakovich.

Why did such seemingly complex and ancient music rise to fame in the age of Romanticism? Schumann viewed The Well-Tempered Clavier as a collection of ‘character pieces’, thus aligning them with his own value system. But many of the pieces are indeed ‘character pieces’, in that they grasp a particular affect, compositional device or quality of movement, exploring this to the finest detail. If each piece is bound by ‘rules’, these are rules developed for this piece alone, often in the course of its individual progress. What to Bach may have been an exploration of the implications of a single inventive complex seems to have struck the Romantic generation as the manifestation of a certain refinement of spirit accessible only through the greatest of music, an individuality intimating a broader universality. Bach’s seemingly archaic musical world, steeped in an all-embracing religious order and sharing concepts of music that stretch back to Pythagorean times, was born afresh in the new era of Romantic aesthetics, and has remained an indispensable element of Western culture ever since.

Book I
Although legend has it that Bach composed The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I during a time of discontent and boredom, without access to an instrument, many of the pieces were drawn together from a variety of earlier sources and the process of composition and compilation was relatively protracted (reaching the present form in 1722, just before Bach moved to Leipzig). Certainly the notion of compiling a collection of pieces in every possible key must have required some thought. Early versions of some of the preludes are found in the Clavierbüchlein that Bach prepared for his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, in 1720–21. What is immediately clear about this collection is the fact that Bach’s primary aim was to facilitate keyboard technique and also acquaint the nine-year-old with the basics of composition. Many of these pieces are based on an arpeggiation or motivic development of simple progressions of chords. The C major and D major Preludes contain relatively simple sequences of chords, yet by casting one as an arpeggio piece and the other as a moto perpetuo for the right hand, Bach produced pieces that are clearly distinct. The young Friedemann would thus have learned that composition can begin with a simple re-arrangement of pre-existent patterns and, by exploring some of the standard figuration, one simultaneously exercised one’s keyboard skills. Much of the basis for composition was thus, literally, ‘in the fingers’.

It is clear from other sources that Bach decided on the prelude–fugue pairing early on in the process. The earliest version of the first book is preserved in a copy made some fifty years after Bach death, and here the preludes are sometimes shorter and simpler in construction. Bach’s biographer J N Forkel, writing at around the same time, believed these to reflect Bach’s ultimate intentions (rather than—precisely the opposite—his earlier efforts): the composer had apparently removed everything that was ‘superfluous’ and ‘tasteless’, thus producing a finer perfection than before. This is a revealing insight into how the tastes of any particular age not only colour one’s opinion of a composer but also one’s belief about his development and maturation. It now seems clear that Bach tended to lengthen pieces over time, to draw more implications out of the material and to develop it as far as possible. This reflects the same urge that is evident in his lessons for Friedemann: every pattern or idea can be developed, and any extant piece can be reused and reworked. Indeed the date of the autograph manuscript, 1722, is not the end of the story: Bach kept tinkering with the pieces for at least another twenty years. We gain the sense of a composer who was constantly striving for perfection; yet there is also a way in which the pieces are ultimately open-ended, as if absolute perfection can never quite be achieved on earth. Were Bach to have lived a few more decades, one might predict that he would still have been working on many pieces that today seem so ‘finished’ and established.

Given the relative novelty of the binary conception of prelude and fugue it is remarkable how well Bach ‘knew’ the genre, exploring every possibility within something that he was simultaneously inventing. The traditional conception of the ‘Praeludium’ (i.e. one that presents an alternation of free and fugal elements) survives in the Prelude in E flat major, a weighty amalgam of fugue and loose imitative fantasia that lies in striking contrast to the levity of the Fugue itself; it is almost as if Bach were reversing the connotations of the two genres, ‘seriousness’ devolving to the Prelude and lightness and simplicity to the Fugue. Other preludes work like ‘inventions’, where both hands have similar melodic material and thus cultivate independence of line and hand (e.g. the Prelude in F sharp minor). The B flat major Prelude develops the fingers in another way, combining an arpeggiated idiom with fast virtuoso passages. This texture—with its rhetorical chordal interjections—recalls the free quasi-improvised toccata of Bach’s youth or the fearsome cadenzas of his concertos for solo harpsichord.

Bach, on the title page to his ‘Inventions and Sinfonias’ referred to the need for the keyboard player to develop a ‘cantabile’ style of playing, in other words, a singing melody that is intuitively harder to accomplish in the keyboard medium than the vocal. Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier is replete with pieces that cultivate melody (quite contrary to common perceptions—then and now—that Bach lacked a basic melodic facility): particularly striking is the haunting Prelude in E flat minor, an intensely expressive melody over a strumming chordal accompaniment; the C sharp minor Prelude combines the idea of aria with polyphony, by which the melodic line is shared between the hands. The cantabile style encompasses both the relatively relaxed, lyrical aria (E major) and the lament (B flat minor). Perhaps most striking in terms of keyboard style are those pieces that adopt other recent instrumental idioms, such as trio sonata (B minor Prelude) or concerto (A flat major Prelude): in the latter, Bach manages to create the impression of a larger texture (paradoxically, with relatively few notes) with a striking ‘tutti’ opening and hints of the ritornello form.

While some fugues look backwards to the severity of Renaissance counterpoint (B flat minor) all encapsulate a particular mood or character and the compositional technique is usually directed towards dramatic effect. The episodes—i.e. those sections where the ‘subject’ is absent—are particularly well-profiled in the C minor Fugue where the sense of expectation for the next entry is continuously cultivated (such as with a ‘false entry’ of the subject). Episodes are also a major element of the E flat major Fugue where the mood alternates between fleet brilliance and levity. The G major Fugue—one of the longest—sets up a pattern of perpetual motion in a dance-like metre, and, with a touch of the minor mode towards the end, drives towards a dramatic conclusion, recalling something of the ‘public’ genre of the concerto. Despite the outwardly dramatic nature of this Fugue, this is in fact one of the most complex pieces, presenting the subject in inversion (where the direction, up or down, of every successive note is reversed) and stretto (where the subject chases itself at a closer distance than usual). In other words, Bach often relishes hiding his skill as a contrapuntalist, the most sophisticated ‘tricks’ often serving a more dramatic or affective end. Conversely, as Laurence Dreyfus has observed, he also contrives to make pieces that are relatively simple in construction sound particularly impressive and ‘formal’ (most obviously the D major Fugue).

The opening C major Fugue is one of the most complex in that its main theme combines with itself at a variety of distances (stretto); yet we hear it as a real narrative event, not as a mere academic exercise. More severe are some of the fugues in the minor mode: of these, the G minor is the most dramatic while the B minor is the most monumental. This latter pleased Schoenberg, two centuries later, for including all twelve notes of the chromatic scale in its subject: however, we still hear the piece as unmistakably tonal, each chromatic step grounding its home key with a greater depth of colour and expression. Bach undoubtedly felt this to be a fitting end to a collection that, in its sequence of keys, had itself covered every note of the chromatic scale.

from notes by John Butt © 2009

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Details for CDA66351/4 disc 2 track 1
No 4 in C sharp minor, BWV849. Movement 1: Prelude
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-90-35201
Duration
2'33
Recording date
31 August 1988
Recording venue
London College of Music, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Tryggvi Tryggvason
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: The Well-tempered Clavier (CDA66351/4)
    Disc 2 Track 1
    Release date: June 1990
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