Bach Project

Update: September 2022

I’m now 10 years into my project to learn, memorise and perform all 24 of Bach’s preludes and fugues from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier.When I began, back in October of 2012, I thought 2 years would be be about right. I planned to give a performance of the whole book to coincide with my 50th Birthday in 2014. But the challenge soon turned out to be a bit bigger than I’d anticipated…

Since learning the inaugural E major I’ve managed to get, for a short time at least, another 17 under my fingers and into my brain. At the time of writing, I’m halfway through the E flat major, and still have C, B flat and A flat majors, G and E flat minors left. My new target is 2024, when I’ll be celebrating my 60th. I think I can manage the remaining 5 and a half by then, but knocking all the others back into shape at the same time is going to be the tough part.

So, as I have almost 24 months left, I thought to help with my preparation, I’d aim to post one prelude and fugue every month until September 2024. This month’s update is the G major. I first learned it 36 years ago when I was studying at the Royal Academy of Music. I re-learned it in 2017 and again this year, but haven’t done any performing since somehow, getting through Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata at the City Lit three years ago.

So, I’ve been trying to video a decent recording of this comparatively tiny piece, and it’s been amazingly scary. A couple of times, I put some tidy clothes on, got the camera angle I wanted and pressed ‘record’. But I couldn’t get what I wanted. This morning however, before getting properly dressed, I was enjoying my practice, and decided to strike while the iron was hot. Apologies for the dressing gown. I’ll try Covent Garden next time…

Bach Prelude and Fugue in G major from wtc I

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