Learn how to play Reicha's Etude dans le genre Fugué Op 97 No 1a

01 November 2021
By Ellie Palmer
This Etude, part of a set of 34 pieces written by the composer, is our Score Pick of the Month for November. Download issue 105 of Pianist below for the full lesson on how to play the piece


Czech-born Anton Reicha was a lifelong friend of Beethoven, and an influential teacher to the likes of Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz and César Franck. A definitive catalogue of Reicha's works is hard to find – he mostly fell into obscurity after his death in 1836.

Whilst this piece – Etude dans le genre Fugué Op 97 No 1 – belongs to a set of 34 pieces, this E minor introduction to the set is strictly speaking neither a study nor a fugue. Functioning rather as a prelude, it establishes a mood of grave and calm reflection which would prove useful in tackling or listening to the set as a whole.

Reicha wrote it 'for the use of young composers' according to his subtitle, and Reicha's clear intention is to produce a Well-Tempered Clavier for his time, yet in a style which by 1815 was already archaic. Note how the melody sinks lower and lower into the bass throughout the piece.

The full score, plus an in-depth lesson from pianist and teacher Melanie Spanswick, is available inside issue 105 of Pianist which you can download straight to your phone, tablet or smartphone today. The lesson will target your:

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✔ Rhythmic precision

✔ Chordal balance

✔ Legato and cantabile