The Art of Escape (Part 1) #0029
Bach may have considered this piece a theoretical study and not have intended The Art of Fugue to be performed at all, since he prepared it in open score and left the climax incomplete. On our next Pipedreams program, we give life to theory, as an international array of soloists leads us through Bach’s contrapuntal maze, this music which astounds the mind and delights the ear simultaneously. A fugue too many? Not to worry, we’ll provide a map to help you listen, and hand you all the keys necessary to open the doors of mystery. How does it end?
Contrapunctus II, main theme, rhythmically varied –Glenn Gould (1960 Casavant Frères/All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Sony Classical SMK 52 595
Contrapunctus III, main theme inverted –Hakan Wikman (1658 Hagerbeer/Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem, The Netherlands) Finlandia CD-98990
Contrapunctus VIII, two new themes, plus main theme varied; –Gerd Zacher (1714 König/St. Leodegar Monastery, Niederehe, Germany) Aeolus CD-10131; Contrapunctus IX, new theme and main theme; –Glenn Gould (1960 Casavant Frères/All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Sony Classical SMK 52 595
Contrapunctus IX, new theme and main theme; –Glen Gould (1960 Casavant Frères/All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Sony Classical SMK 52 595
Contapunctus X, inversion of varied main theme, plus new theme upright and inverted; –Jaroslav Tuma (1999 Slajch/Sacred Heart Church, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic) Supraphon 3439-2132
Contrapunctus XII, two pieces with varied main theme, first upright, then in mirror image; –Lionel Rogg (1959 Metzler/St. Peter Cathedral, Geneva, Switzerland) Angel LPSB-3766
About the title: in France, the term to make a fugue means to take a trip or to run away. Try asking a computer to translate L’Art de la Fugue. In any event, listening to this magnum opus by Mr. Bach is, without a doubt, its own special kind of trip. And where once there was only one available recording of The Art of Fugue, now many performers have added their personal views to the ongoing discourse. We continue and complete the journey next week.