Bach, J S: The Art of Fugue, BWV1080

Ramée: RAM1106

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Bach, J S: The Art of Fugue, BWV1080



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Release date:

31st Oct 2011




79 minutes


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Bach, J S: The Art of Fugue, BWV1080

Leon Berben (organ)


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Probably no single work by Johann Sebastian Bach is surrounded with such an aura of mystery and secrecy as The Art of Fugue. The legends that attend it have certainly not prevented direct access to the monumental cycle of fugues, but they have palpably hampered any appreciation free of the prejudice concerning Bach’s artistic calibre. The mass of peripheral literature stretching across the generations has become almost impenetrable, making it difficult even for specialists to separate the grain of serious research – scientifically based and verifiable – from the over-abundant chaff of erroneous speculation. Léon Berben presents a deeply personal interpretation of this masterwork.

For him, Bach’s The Art of Fugue is not simply a theoretical or mathematical exercise, but is living music, replete with all the emotions and affects that musical rhetoric can deliver. His choice of instrument was not left to chance: the 1744 Wagner organ in Angermünde, with its characteristic voices and precise acoustic, allows for a distinct presentation of the counterpoint. Berben’s interpretation is characterised by the rigour of his textual reading (for example, his respect for original tempo indications) and his vivacious playing – without doubt a new benchmark in the recording history of the piece.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue), BWV 1080

Contrapunctus I

Contrapunctus II

Contrapunctus III

Contrapunctus IV

Canon II, alla Ottava

Contrapunctus V

Contrapunctus VI a 4 in Stylo Francese

Contrapunctus VII a 4 per Augmentationem et Diminutionem

Canon III, alla Decima in Contrapunto alla Terza

Contrapunctus VIII a 3

Contrapunctus IX a 4 alla Duodecima

Contrapunctus X a 4 alla Decima

Contrapunctus XI a 4

Canon IV, alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta

Contrapunctus inversus XII a 4, forma inversa

Contrapunctus inversus XII a 4, forma recta

Contrapunctus inversus XIII a 3, forma recta

Contrapunctus inversus XIII a 3, forma inversa

Canon I, per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu

Fuga a 3 Soggetti

BBC Music Magazine

March 2012

“Magnificent organ (Joachim Wagner 1744), and Berben's technique is enviable. Rhythmic vagaries mar the opening, but from Contrapunctus III it's enjoyable.”

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