Use: General, funeral
Required Resources: Organ
One of only six massive works composed by J.S. Bach during the last decade of his life, Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue) is a masterpiece coalescing all that the composer knew about the construction of one of the most difficult forms.
Written between 1742 and 1749, the collection contains 14 fugues and 4 canons, all based on the same d minor theme.
The last one, for reasons still open for debate, is incomplete — the music ends after Bach had introduced a countermelody based on his name in German nomenclature B-A-C-H (Bflat-A-C-Bnatural).
The work was published posthumously in 1751; 30 copies sold and the copper printing plates were sold to recoup losses.
Ah, the irony of church music publishing!
Conatrapunctus I is the very first fugue, the most straightforward, but perhaps the most suitable for sacred use.
While The Art of Fugue was written in rather "academic" open score, it is often realized by instrumental ensembles (string quartet, brass quartet, etc.).
Knowing the composer, though, many editors have set the movements as organ pieces, to fine effect.
Of only moderate difficulty, this fugue is useful in the sacred music world.
It makes an excellent prelude for November or for funerals, with its brooding, d minor subject.
It's Bach — it won't disappoint you!
Order #: 6008
- Ordinary Time