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Recital in Leipzig
Friday, June 17, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
J. S. Bach:
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Part II
24 Preludes and Fugues, BWV 870–893
Angela Hewitt (piano)
One of the most famous piano works in the entire history of music has a birthday! Exactly 300 years ago in 1722, Johann Sebastian Bach compiled 24 preludes and fugues in a carefully prepared fair copy. He entitled the impressive volume »The Well-Tempered Clavier«, or »Praeludia, und Fugen durch alle Tone und Semitonia […]« (»Praeludia, and Fugues through all tones and semitones […]«). The collection consistently traverses the chromatic scale from C to B and presents a prelude and a fugue for each of the major and minor keys of all twelve semitones. Barely two decades later, Bach again took up the concept of the »Well-Tempered Clavier« in Leipzig and produced a second book, Part II, which also consists of 24 preludes and fugues in all keys. In the process, he took several individual pieces that had meanwhile been written, and combined them with new compositions to form a cycle that exceeds Part I by about 25% in terms of volume. The decisive factor for the composition of Part II was most likely Bach’s desire for new teaching material for his numerous pupils and this original intention of his has undoubtedly achieved its goal over the past three centuries – whether Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt or Busoni, the great pianists of our time or countless piano students worldwide – the »Well-Tempered Clavier« formed the foundation for all of their musical skills. The complete Part II of this exceptional collection by Johann Sebastian Bach will be played by the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt on the occasion of the anniversary. A welcome guest in Leipzig, she received the prestigious Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig in 2020 »for her diverse and long-standing commitment to Johann Sebastian Bach’s music and her standard-setting Bach interpretations on the concert grand.