``The art of fugue''
(``Die Kunst der Fuge'', BWV 1080)
Bach's last major work, this piece was not even entirely completed. It
is a difficult piece that takes the form of the fugue to its limits,
and requires either patience or familiarity of the listener. Strictly,
it is not so much a piece as a series of demonstrations of the fugal
form. Each is based around the same theme, but each develops
differently, illustrating a different way in which a fugue might be
There is some controversy as to how ``The art of fugue'' should even
be performed. While a keyboard seems the obvious choice, there are
fugues in the work that are not playable with just two hands. There
seems to be quite a strong case for Bach having intended the
Art to be ``pure music'', not necessarily intending it
for particular performance.
Last modified: Mon Dec 19 10:18:55 1994
Michael Norrish <Michael.Norrish@cl.cam.ac.uk>