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Bach-Malloch: The Art of Fuguing Gold CD, Import

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Gold CD, Import, May 15, 1995
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$840.99 $34.98
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Editorial Reviews


Musicologist William Malloch approaches Bach's hallowed valedictory opus with affectionate irreverence. His peppery orchestrations chop up and toss the counterpoint into a crazy salad of orchestral invention. Percussion effects are liberally sprinkled throughout, from wispy castanets to full blown disco handclaps. Malloch also takes kooky compositional liberties. Contrapunctus #9, for instance, strays through Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Shostakovich without missing a beat. The final, unfinished movement dematerializes into dissonant haze as the musicians fugue away into the sunset. The performances bustle with zest, and do full justice to Malloch's ingenious arrangements. Or should one say "de-rangements?." --Jed Distler

1. Andante risoluto e sostenuto
2. Andante con moto
3. Allegretto
4. Allegro non troppo
5. Allegro energico
6. Allegretto piacevole
7. Allegro marcato
8. Allegro molto
9. Misterioso
10. Allegro spagnolo
11. Andante amorvolmente
12. Grave (Entrada)
13. Allegro espringale, pt. 1
14. Allegro espringale, pt. 2
15. Allegro espringale, pt. 3
16. Grave (Uscita)
17. Allegro risoluto
18. Allegro moderato e dolcemente
19. Allegro animato
20. Andante risoluto e sostenuto
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Sheffield Ensemble
  • Composer: Bach, Malloch, Lukas Foss
  • Audio CD (May 15, 1995)
  • Format: Gold CD, Import
  • Label: Sheffield Lab
  • ASIN: B0000009EQ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,004 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bob Zeidler on September 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Forgive me my double sin against both Johann Sebastian Bach and Sir Benjamin Britten. But this brief description was simply too good to pass up. Chalk it up to a minor epiphany visited upon me as I listened to this work (yet again) while my mind was spectacularly unoccupied and in "free association."

Bach's "Die Kunst der Fuge" (The Art of Fugue) was his final major work, left unfinished at his death in 1750. For more than 250 years (well, at least since Felix Mendelssohn's successful efforts at reviving interest in the music of Bach some 100 years after Bach's death), "The Art of Fugue" has been an enigmatic challenge to composers, musicians and musicological researchers, as the work is barely fleshed out, and not orchestrated, nor is any indication of performing force(s) given. As a result, it exists today (aside from the original manuscript sketches) in various guises: as a keyboard work (for piano, for harpsichord, and for two harpsichords), as a realization for string quartet, and, in various arrangements, as an orchestral work, both with and without keyboard continuo (harpsichord or organ). One such orchestral arrangement, by Karl Munchinger, concludes with the chorale "Vor Deinem Thron" (an approach whose aptness was not lost on William Malloch, the creator of "The Art of Fuguing").

The everlasting significance of this final Bach work transcends its immediate impact on those in the music community.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By codiferous on November 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Being a fan of Bach and a zealous proponont of Bach arrangements, I was delighted when I spotted this disc in a bargain bin for [money]! Had I known how wonderful these arrangements were I would have paid full price for them on Amazon[.com] a long time ago. The Bach-Malloch moniker is quite apt. This is a new piece by Malloch based on Die Kunst Der Fuge. Every moment is rich with joyous music making. Complicated rhythmic structures provided by the percussion underlie many of the arrangements, colorful orchestrations, and inventive additions to the counterpoints make this piece a must have for any Bach junkie. Malloch has done for Bach what Ravel did for Mussorgsky. I am also a fan of Lukas Foss, the conductor, whose works are worthy of repeated listenings. Check out his "Phorion", a deconstructed version of a Bach Sarabande, coupled with his seminal piece "Time Cycle".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Schell on October 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I remember Bill Malloch, with his trademark ponytail, presenting this work to a roomful of composition students at USC in the early 1980s. He was constantly relating Bach's work to what followed in the 19th and 20th Centuries. One detail I recall is how Contrapunctus 2 reminded him of Sibelius's Night Ride and Sunrise. And sure enough, in his setting of this fugue he throws in sleigh bells and other percussion to refer to the Sibelius and draw out its rhythmic similarities with this fugue.

Clearly the point of Malloch's orchestration and, in several cases, free extension of Bach's fugues, canons and deathbed chorale prelude is not so much to clarify the polyphony with timbre and stereo separation as it is to shift the emphasis from counterpoint to prophesy. Take his setting of Contrapunctus 9, the triple fugue with a fast-running first subject. At roughly the midpoint, Malloch inserts a digression starting with an extended quotation from the fugato section of Beethoven's Eroica finale...but in inversion! (I believe Malloch was working on The Art of Fuguing contemporaneously with Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, which also spoofs this movement). After the Beethoven we go through a variety of other quotations in the spirit of the Bach original (these include the 1812 Overture, Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream overture, the Flight of the Bumble Bee, and more) before we pick up where we left off in the original. There's a similar "cadenza" inserted toward the end of the Canon at the 10th (at the location provided for such by Bach) that quotes a famous and brilliant passage from the code of Leonore Overture No. 3.

Occasionally Malloch looks backwards in history too.
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