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 Post subject: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:05 pm 
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Embarked on a re-recording of the Kunst der Fugue, replacing my indifferent old recordings, finally giving these pieces the attention they deserve. Without of course reaching perfection - this music seems to get more difficult the more you get to know it. I posted no.1 a while ago but that was before the revision, it now sounds much better.

Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 1 (3:33)
Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 2 (2:51)
Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 3 (3:22)
Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 4 (6:12)
Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 5 (4:09)
Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 6 (4:37)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:32 am 
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Added Contrapunctus 4 this morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:53 pm 
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Hi Chris, I listened to all the four pieces and I'm very impressed by the beauty of them. You seem to have spent much time with them, you seem to be in the music. The only thing which irritated me slightly was in the ending of the Contrapunctus 4, where the organ points - is it a right term? - on LH sound a bit too harshy.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:37 pm 
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Thanks Hye-Jin ! Yes this is music I can totally identify with now (it did not come easily though).
About the ending of no.4, I guess you mean the alto voice in the RH. It produces a grinding dissonant in bar 135 which is a bit of a shock effect. I don't shy away from these exciting moments in Bach, any harshness such as there is, is largely intentional. Driving the point home, so to speak.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Was that alto on RH? :oops: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:51 pm 
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Yes. As a rule, the RH plays soprano and alto, the LH plays tenor and bass.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Added Contrapunctus 5

Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 5 (4:09)

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:45 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I listened to all five fugues and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are all very beautiful. You have a fine articulation that brings out the voices very well. Well done!

The Art of Fugue has in interesting history, the work at first being mostly ignored by musicians. Here is blurb by the late Australian touring artist, pedagogue and author, Ernest Hutcheson from his book The Literature of the Piano, Third Edition updated by Rudolph Ganz:

"The Art of Fugue was not written for clavier, though it may profitably be studied in the piano version. It was submitted as abstract counterpoint, independent of any particular instrumental setting. There is an admirable orchestral version by Wolfgang Graser, first introduced to American music-lovers at Mrs. Coolidge's Chamber Music Festival in the small hall of the Library of Congress, Washington, [this concert series still survives today], Leopold Stokowski conducting, and twice presented to New York audiences by the Juilliard Graduate School under the leadership of Albert Stoessel in 1930 and 1931. These performances went far to dispel the illusion that the work was a mere academic exercise not fit for concert use."

If I'm not mistaken, these fugues are "progressive", in that each fugue in succession increases in difficulty, yes?

David

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:21 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
I listened to all five fugues and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are all very beautiful. You have a fine articulation that brings out the voices very well. Well done!

Thanks David :D Yes I do my very best to play these as clearly and cleanly as possible, without pedal (so far, I may need some splotches of pedal in no.6 and maybe no.7) and to bring out the voices best as I can. As if that is not hard enough, one must also bring expression and dynamics into it, which I think I did not do sufficiently in Contrapunctus 5. That one seems to sound a little monochrome. I wonder if I should redo it.

Rachfan wrote:
The Art of Fugue was not written for clavier, though it may profitably be studied in the piano version.

I am not sure whether or not it was written for a particular instrument or not. With music this sublime, it's almost a moot point. The KDF sounds great on any instrument, or combinations of. Paricularly on the piano :D

Rachfan wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, these fugues are "progressive", in that each fugue in succession increases in difficulty, yes?

Yeah, they do tend to get more complicated as you go. Culminating in no.7 where the theme is heard simultaneously in three different tempi (Rectus, Augmentationem, and Diminutionem). I've never heard that anywhere else.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Art of Fugue (re-recording)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Added Contrapunctus 6.
I stubbornly ignore the Urtext advise to play all eights as sixteenths. I know this is common practice in French overture-style pieces, but to my mind it messes up the counterpoint here. I believe each voice (whether rectus or diminutionem) has right to its proper rhythm, as written. Never mind that later generations took liberty with this. Holier than the pope, I am :lol:

Bach - BWV 1080 - Die Kunst der Fuge - Contrapunctus 6 (4:37)

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