Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque – Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (2016) [ChannelClassics FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 – Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz  | Time – 01:10:00 minutes | 2,03 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: channelclassics.com | Digital Booklet | © Channel Classics Records
Recording: Church of Saint Jude-on-the-Hill, 15-17 December 2015

Questions about the implied instrumentation are never going to be answered definitively. Certainly, virtually all the cycle is set out in such a way that it can be played on the keyboard, but the open score format of the original invites interpretation from any potential instrumental combination (or, indeed, even just a soundless reading by the highly trained musician). This question immediately leads on to another how are we expected to listen to this music? Are we meant to hear a sequence of virtual events or is it to be one event in a single span of time? Is it perhaps the filling out of contrapuntal and motivic possibilities that are all potentially simultaneous and which only have to be strung out in time to render them humanly perceivable? Much of this suggest that the work implies a sort of cyclic time, experienced from the point of view of eternity – in other words, the sort of time that we might imagine God experiences, superior to the messy narrative of human linear time. Yet, there are always human, worldly elements, such as the allusions to French style in Contrapunctus 6, the rhetorical pauses in the very first Contrapunctus, or the playful flow of the mirror fugues or some of the canons. This residue of human habitation is perhaps what distinguishes Bachs fugal works from the fugal (or ricercar) tradition of previous composers and in which later composers heard a voice speaking directly to them, a voice that shared at least some aspects of the modern world, even if it was entirely suffused with the sense of an overwhelming and all-embracing godly order.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)

The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
01 | Contrapunctus 1 00:02:50
02 | Contrapunctus 3 00:03:00
03 | Contrapunctus 2 00:02:30
04 | Contrapunctus 4 00:03:42
05 | Canon alla Ottava 00:02:16
06 | Contrapunctus 9 ‘alla Duodecima’ 00:02:28
07 | Contrapunctus 10 ‘alla Decima’ 00:03:50
08 | Contrapunctus 5 00:02:53
09 | Contrapunctus 6 ‘in Stylo Francese’ 00:02:53
10 | Contrapunctus 7 ‘per Augmentationem alla Terza’ 00:03:31
11 | Contrapunctus 8, a 3 00:05:53
12 | Contrapunctus 11, a 4 00:05:43
13 | Canon alla Duodecima 00:03:47
14 | Contrapunctus 12, a 4 00:03:50
15 | Canon alla Decima 00:04:28
16 | Contrapunctus 13, a 3 00:04:38
17 | Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu 00:03:24
18 | Contrapunctus 14 00:08:24

Brecon Baroque
Rachel Podger Violin, Pesarinius, 1739
Johannes Pramsohler Violin, David Teccler, Rome 1743 Viola, Jan Pawlikowski made in 2008 in Kraków
Jane Rogers Viola, Patrick Robin, courtesy loan from the Royal Academy of Music
Alison McGillivray 5-string cello by Wang Zhi Ming 2009
Marcin Świątkiewicz Harpsichord, Flemish ‘ravelment’ double manual after Ruckers 1628, by Andrew Wooderson, Bexley 1999



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