Prelude in B minor (Bach/Siloti)

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Performed by Felipe Sarro. Courtesy of Musopen

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The Prelude in B minor (Bach, arr. Siloti) is an arrangement for piano by Alexander Siloti of the Prelude in E minor BWV 855a by Johann Sebastian Bach from his Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Bach reused the piece (in a slightly different form) as the tenth prelude in the first volume of The Well-Tempered Clavier.

J.S. Bach, Prelude in E minor BWV 855a, measures 1–2
J.S. Bach arr. Siloti, Prelude in B minor, measures 1–2

This transcription has been described as "perhaps Siloti's most tender and perfect" transcription.[1] It transposes Bach's original down from the original E minor into B minor, and the steady sixteenth note figuration that was originally given by Bach to the left hand is changed to the right hand. Siloti also adds a repeat of the entire work, in order to allow for a change of voicing where the melody in the left hand is emphasized.[1] The chords in the left hand are arpeggiated; however according to Siloti's daughter Kyriena (to whom the work was dedicated [1]), he would omit the arpeggiation on the first pass and restore it on the repeat in order to heighten the effect of the left-hand melody.[1] It has been performed by many pianists, most famously Emil Gilels.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Barber, Charles (2004), "The Transcriptions", The Alexander Siloti Collection: Editions, Transcriptions and Arrangements for Piano Solo, Carl Fischer, L.L.C., pp. 11–13, ISBN 0-8258-4730-3 

External links[edit]

  • Sheet music of the prelude (first page) at Google Books
  • Sheet music of Bach's "Six Little Preludes", including Prelude BWV855a, hosted by Werner Icking Music Archive
  • Sheet music of the entire Prelude, edited by Ferdinand Gajewski [1]