JS Bach’s The Well–Tempered Clavier

Dr David King will perform book 1 of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846-869, in its entirety.

Both books of The Well-Tempered Clavier comprise preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys.  Dating from 1722, it remains one of the foundations and mainstays of the keyboard repertoire.

The ordering of the preludes and fugues in this performance has been selected according to enharmonic relationships of the keys of the preludes and fugues. The chosen order maintains the integrity of the position of the first prelude and last fugue whilst bringing sympathetic key transitions that maintains the harmonic line in an end-to-end performance. So the performance starts with the Prelude in C major, follows a sequence that covers all the keys, and concludes ultimately in the magnificent B minor fugue.

It isn’t possible to construct the enharmonic transitions across the entire set of pieces, since the relative–major–minor keys are related by a minor 3rd, and consequently, this renders the series as a cycle that encompasses only 4 of the 12 keys. So, the performance comprises three separate cycles starting a perfect 5th apart.

The performance will start at 19:30 on 28 November 2017. There will be no interval. This free event is open to all.


Dr David King is a Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College and teaches on the Software Engineering Programme. David has been playing the piano since the age of three, and from the age of seven studied under Maureen Challinor.  He studied music whilst at Birmingham University and took lessons at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He has performed with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, with various choirs and has given a number of recitals for charity fundraising events, both on the piano and on the organ.