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Bach: Art of Fugue for String Quartet


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Audio CD, August 12, 2003
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Bach: Art of Fugue for String Quartet + Mozart: String Quartets K. 465 "Dissonance", K. 458 "The Hunt", K. 421
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus IEmerson String Quartet 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 2Emerson String Quartet 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 3Emerson String Quartet 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 4Emerson String Quartet 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 5Emerson String Quartet 2:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 6Emerson String Quartet 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 7Emerson String Quartet 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 8David Finckel and Eugene Drucker and Lawrence Dutton 4:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 9Emerson String Quartet 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 10Emerson String Quartet 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 11Emerson String Quartet 4:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 14a: Canon per Augmentationem in contrario motuDavid Finckel and Eugene Drucker 5:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 12aEmerson String Quartet 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 12bEmerson String Quartet 1:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Canon alla OttavaDavid Finckel and Lawrence Dutton 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Canona alla Decima, in Contrapunto alla TerzaEugene Drucker and Lawrence Dutton 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla QuintaDavid Finckel and Philip Setzer 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 13aDavid Finckel and Lawrence Dutton and Philip Setzer 2:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
19. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 13bDavid Finckel and Eugene Drucker and Lawrence Dutton 2:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
20. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 14: Canon per Augmentationem in contrario motuDavid Finckel and Philip Setzer 6:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
21. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Contrapunctus 14(18): Fuga a 3 SoggettiEmerson String Quartet 8:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
22. J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 - Version for String Quartet - Chorale: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten seinEmerson String Quartet 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Emerson String Quartet
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (August 12, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: UMVD Labels
  • ASIN: B00008O8B3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,980 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 127 people found the following review helpful By philvscott on December 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Bach's ultimate composition has so often been described as cerebral that it's inclined to put a casual listener off. Much as I admire Charles Rosen's piano recording, for example, I find it's not uncommon for the mind to wander off somewhere around the halfway mark. Perhaps it's the strings' ability to project a lyrical line, but I find the Emerson Quartet gripping from beginning to premature end, and after living with this CD for a while, the work makes more sense to me. The Art of Fugue is a monumental piece of art: like a great sculpture, it simply exists, and as a listener you may bring to it as much or as little as you like without affecting its integrity. Unlike, say, a Mahler symphony, it does not demand complete emotional commitment (except from the performers, which it definitely gets here)- and yet, when the music just stops mid-stream at the point where Bach supposedly died, the shock is greater than any number of Mahlerian hammer blows.

Beautifully recorded, sensitively played and, to descend to earth for a moment, I notice it's also discounted. Perfect.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. on August 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Emerson Quartet are the last word is modern, slick string quartet groups. Their extremely streamlined sound works very well sometimes, othertimes not. Their recording are usually worth a listen, and usually rank high with the Gramophone, Penguin & BBC critics, but I often find I enjoy other quartets more in given works, and have often traded in for different versions. Too often, they're just too slick. In this case, that slickness works in just the right way.
My other string quartet version is a magnificent one by The Juilliard Quartet, their approach being completely different from the present set. The Juilliard perform this work, solemnly, deeply, and slowly, as if played in a cloister, or the medieval room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It seems as if they've tried to make their quartet have the aural identity of a combo of viols (which is another good choice for this work, see the album by Fretwork, or parts of Jordi Savall's conception). If you're in the right frame of mind, and see this work as primarily a communion with the higher power, or a last throwback to the days of Sainte Columbe and Marin Marais, it would be hard to top this. I think one of this quartets best records.

In comparison, The Emersons provide a soundtrack for an art deco streamlined railway journey...their tempos are consistantly faster, with more sprite in their steps. The work certainly is EASIER to listen to this way, especially complete in one sitting. Their blend is smooth, they play wonderfully, but do lack the gravitas brought to the room by The Juilliards, or The Delme Quartet on Hyperion (in an edition prepared by Robert Simpson).
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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on July 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If one word could sum up this performance it would be "smooth." I have come late to the recordings of the Emerson String Quartet. This has to be among this very worthwhile group's best.
The Art of the Fugue is, if not my favorite piece by Bach, then certainly high on the short-list. This is music fully realized--with an almost mystic greatness. Les Violins du Roy and the Delme Quartet (in Robert Simpson's arrangement) have both done great chamber versions of the work.
This recording by the Emerson Quartet is well at ease in such lofty company.
This recording lets the music speak for itself. It does so brilliantly. The crystal clear sound quality works hand in hand with the performance.
Everything here is evenhanded and well judged. This is pulled off without any loss of the music's passion, fire, or insight. I cannot recommend this version of Bach's last great work highly enough.
If you are considering getting a copy, do not hesitate.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hawkes on September 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
In a catalogue flooded with realizations of "The Art of Fugue" on every keyboard instrument and for every other ensemble imaginable, including saxophone quartet, did we really need another string quartet version? For myself, I will be sending my other string quartet recordings of these pieces to the resale bin. The Emersons bring to this music, as they bring to Beethoven, Shostakovich, Webern, and Bartók (or anything else they touch), a quality in which they really do exceed the possible sum of their parts: impeccable technical skills, agile intelligence, warm heart, infectious energy, and a breathtaking sense of ensemble. Each individual voice breathes with an independence rarely achieved in performance of this work, and yet each seems somehow utterly inseparable from the others. Definitely a performance to shelve with the keepers - just like any other recording by this remarkable band of musical brothers.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Neaklaus VINE VOICE on July 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Here we have yet another wonderful recording from the Emerson
String Quartet. This time they bring their unique performing
feel to the music of J.S. Bach in one of his final expressions
of music "The Art of Fugue". Most performances of this work have
what can only be described as a totally intellectual feel to
them, this recording is quite different in the fact that the
Emersons bring a feeling of humanity to the work. The final piece
performed as a close to the work is the Chorale "Before Thy
throne do I come now." BWV 668a is one of Bach's final thoughts
It is a fitting close to this work, which is a fitting close to
Bach's musical life. The recording done by Deutsche Grammaphon
is warm, intimate, yet with just enough feel of the room to keep
it from sounding "boxy" Hearing this work in a chamber setting
helps the listener follow the various paths and trails that Bach
put together to show us his little garden or park where we can
imagine following him around as he shows us the way. Bach's music
can be quite an adventure of exploration, The Art of Fugue is his
map to perhaps what has been called "The Undiscovered Country".
I suggest getting this CD and making the journey with him as
often as possible. Is this recording the last word on the
subject? No, but it is one of the finest ones to come along in a
long time. Highly recommended.
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Topic From this Discussion
How to listen to this work?
I suggest just listening to the music. If you intend to digest the work as a whole, then certainly do it in order. However, Bach did not even specify instrumentation for this piece, so its performance by any means is already done with a bit of arbitrariness. If you like it, in part or in... Read More
Apr 14, 2007 by R. Valitutto |  See all 2 posts
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Bach: Art of Fugue for String Quartet
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