Libby Burgess piano

The Well-Tempered Clavier

Libby Burgess piano

Performance 4 of 6

The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the glories of Western art, only rarely performed in its entirety. In 1722 JS Bach published a prelude and a fugue in each of the twelve major and twelve minor keys (Book 1), and twenty years later he repeated the process (Book 2). Each of ‘The 48’ lasts only a few minutes, but between them they explore a wealth of characters, styles, and moods, representing not only the diversity of musical language available to the composer at the time, but also exploring the whole gamut of human emotional experience.

Acclaimed pianist Libby Burgess is performing Bach's masterpiece 48 times; once in each of England's 48 counties. She is half way through her epic journey around the country, and we are thrilled to be hosting the City of London performances as part of our Holy Week Festival. During the festival, Libby will perform the entire collection across six concerts. Each concert will include a carefully crafted selection of preludes & fugues from Book 1 and Book 2 (the set lists will be published shortly).

Bach wrote his massive and magnificent collection "for the benefit and use of the musical youth eager to learn, as well as for the special pastime of those already skilful in this study". The project is fundraising for musical charities who provide much-needed help to those same categories of people today – musicians young and old. The nominated charities are: Help Musicians, Youth Music, Live Music Now and Future Talent. Between them they help hundreds of thousands of musicians every year, offering financial support, creating opportunities, addressing inequalities, and altogether safeguarding the future of the music world.

So far the project has raised over £29,000. The concerts are free, with a retiring collection in aid of the charities.

Duration: approximately 45 minutes

Venue: Temple Church
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"Once I understood Bach’s music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music."

Nina Simone

"Study Bach, there you will find everything."

Johannes Brahms

"I don’t think a greater genius has walked the earth. Of the three great composers Mozart tells us what it’s like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it’s like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it’s like to be the universe."

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