Johann Sebastian Bach's "Art of Fugue"
Performance Practice Based on German Eighteenth-Century Theory
With the Art of Fugue, Bach delivered a polyphonic composition for keyboard of unprecedented proportions and complexity. Notwithstanding that the existing literature on this brilliant work is vast, a performer does not often find answers to practical questions such as, “Why is this note not flatted?” or “How can one make this peculiar voice-leading work during performance?”
This book, by a leading Bach performer, is designed to fill this void and provide a practical guide to the performance of the Art of Fugue. The first part contains an overview of four important Baroque topics related to the concept and performance of the Art of Fugue (rhetoric, meter, syntax, and keyboard technique). The second part basically demonstrates, with reference to the first four Contrapuncti, how the background presented in the first part often enables possible explanations for both text-critical and conceptual issues to be formulated. The final purpose is to achieve as eloquent a performance as possible of these pieces.