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Bach: Die Kunst Der Fuge (The Art of the Fugue) Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, April 21, 1992
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Contrapunctus I
  2. Contrapunctus II
  3. Contrapunctus III
  4. Contrapunctus IV
  5. Contrapunctus V
  6. Contrapunctus VI in stile francese
  7. Contrapunctus VII per augmentation et diminutionem
  8. Contrapunctus VIII a 3
  9. Contrapunctus IX alla duodecima
  10. Contrapunctus X alla decima
  11. Contrapunctus XI

Disc: 2

  1. Canon alla ottava
  2. Canon alla decima in contrapunto alla terza
  3. Cana alla duodecima in contrapunto alla quinta
  4. Canon per augmentationem in motu contrario
  5. Contrapunctus XIII a 3 rectus
  6. Contrapunctus XIII a 3 inversus
  7. Contrapunctus XII a 4 rectus
  8. Contrapunctus XII a 4 inversus
  9. Contrapunctus XIV
  10. Choral: "Vor Deinen Thron tret ich hiermit."


Product Details

  • Performer: Robert Mann, Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Rhodes, Joel Krosnick
  • Orchestra: Juilliard String Quartet
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (April 21, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000270V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,143 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to say I really enjoyed this performance of the Art of Fugue. Tempi are typically fairly slow, and each theme is slightly romanticized, while accents are heavily underscored. Compared to the much more idiomatic reading of the Emerson quartet (which features relatively little to no vibrato), this is a nice change of pace although I would not be without either performance as they each have different strengths and weaknesses. The last fugue is left unfinished here, as is the Emerson's reading; the Delme quartet's version, which is of similar interpretive style to this set (i.e. plenty of vibrato), includes Tovey's completion of the final quadruple fugue. This recording is split on 2 CDs and has a runtime of ~90 minutes, compared to the Emerson/Delme recordings, which both fit on one CD and are in the ~75-80 minute range.
One very interesting thing the Juilliard does is use a custom-made viola of larger size, which allows this mid-range voice to play the notes as written by Bach, rather than transposing the voice up an octave when out of the range of the standard instrument as many other quartets will do. It's a more honest and sensible solution to the problem of playing the work in this format. In contrast, the Delme's approach is to transpose the work to G Minor so that the viola's limitations are neutralized, while the Emersons just use the aforementioned technique of moving the voice up an octave when needed. I prefer the approach of the Juilliard recording to the other two.
Overall a very nice, romantic performance of the work, but I would not recommend it as a be-all-end-all recording. I would recommend listening to the Emerson quartet recording as well for a more historically informed approach, and also the Delme version if you want to hear the final fugue completed.
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Format: Audio CD
Bach's unfinished fugue is incredible. I have heard different recordings of it, but this one is by far the best. Since Bach did not notate what instruments are to play the parts, recordings can really vary as far what instruments they use, which in turn quite changes the sound of the piece. A string quartet is a lovely choice for this piece, and the Juilliard String Quartet does an excellent job. By the by, if you are partial to Cognitive Science, and liked <<Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid>>, this recording may be of interest to you.
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By Michael Newman on January 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Bach's music presents the epitome of the craft of fugue-writing. Fugal forms permeate every part of Bach's writing -- from the most lyrical of the French Suites to the Brandenburg Concertos, to the Musical Offering and the Goldberg Variations, not to mention the Well-Tempered Clavier and the organ fugues. In many ways, all of Bach's work is an "art of fugue." But here we have Bach's genius distilled to its essence. No flowery melodies, no lyricism -- just the pure interaction of interlocking melodies; often dissonant, often disquieting, always incredible. While the Art of Fugue can be played on any arrangement of instruments (several very nice harpsichord and piano versions exist), the quartet arrangement of these pieces allows one to most clearly discern the various voices in these extraordinary fugues (and canons). The Juilliard Quartet provides remarkable performance of this landmark piece. Their style is spare and dry (though not as spare and dry as Emerson SQ's more recent recording). But real beauty bubbles up throughout these learned performances. The final fugue, which although unfinished is among Bach's longest, and which features the theme of Bach's name (Bb, A, C, and B), is played brilliantly and will be savored over again and again. If you have one recording of the Art of Fugue, this should be it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
J. S Bach: Die Kunst Der Fuge (The Art Of The Fugue)is an absolute stunning masterpiece. Beginning to end. This 2cd album has the perfect ensemble performing the music: the Julliard String Quartet (Robert Mann, Violin; Joel Smirnoff, Violin; Samuel Rhodes, Viola; and Joel Krosnick, Cello). The music is performed as though performed in a monastery. It is intimate, tempos are easy & relaxed. There is a grace emitted throughout that is palpable. This music is essentially mystical. In my opinion, this is the music of ETERNITY. Bach was a connsumate musical genius. This music and the performance of it is and will be a gift forever to the world. I sampled and then purchased this album coutesy of Amazon. I can't too highly recommend this album.
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I have three recordings of this seminal work of Western musical literature (I wouldn't have believed that possible just a few months ago): piano with Charles Rosen Bach: The Keyboard Album and orchestral with Karl Munchinger Bach: The Art of Fugue; Musical Offering. As much as I admire maestro Rosen, I could not separate the several voices as represented by the keyboard - although I enjoyed the performance immensely. AOF in orchestral garb is very nice, and the voices are more discernible as they're handed of to different instruments in the orchestra. It makes for a very *big* Bach experience. And finally, this recording. At last my ears could follow each voice - I wouldn't say easily - but with focused concentration. This AOF is beautifully performed by the JSQ and beautifully recorded by Sony in the mid 90's. As I learn more about the music, I believe that the string quartet is the perfect instrument to realize it's grandeur. Other string quartets that have garnered positive reviews are the Emersons Bach: The Art of Fugue, the Delme Bach: The Art of Fugue (prepared by Robert Simpson), and the Keller Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge (Art of the Fugue). I think I'll pass on performances by the Canadian Brass, or on a clavichord (yikes!), or harpsichord (with apologies, Ms. Landowska). Highly recommended.
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