With the Art of Fugue Bach delivered a polyphonic composition for keyboard of unprecedented proportions and complexity. Notwithstanding the vast existing literature on this brilliant work, a performer does not often find answers in it to practical questions such as ‘Why is this note not flatted?' or ‘How can one make this peculiar voice-leading work during performance?' This book by a leading Bach performer is designed to fill this void and provide a practical guide to the performance of the Art of Fugue. The first part contains an overview of four important Baroque topics related to the concept and performance of the Art of Fugue (rhetoric, metre, syntax, and keyboard technique). The second part basically demonstrates, with reference to the first four Contrapuncti, how the background presented in the first part often enables possible explanations for both text-critical and conceptual issues to be formulated. The final purpose is to achieve as eloquent a performance as possible of these pieces.
For many today Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stand as towering representatives of European music of the eighteenth century, composers whose works reflect intellectual, religious, and aesthetic trends of the period. Research on their compositions continues in many ways to shape our broader understanding of eighteenth-century musical thought and its contexts. This collection of essays by leading authorities in the field offers a variety of new perspectives on the two composers, as well as some of their important contemporaries, Haydn in particular. Addressing topics as diverse as the historiography of eighteenth-century music, concepts of time and musical form, the idea of the musical work and its relation to publishing practices, compositional process, and performance practice, these essays together constitute a major contribution to eighteenth-century studies.
This book had its origin in a conference that took place at the Music Department of Harvard University on September 23–25, 2005, to honor Professor Christoph Wolff, Adams University Research Professor at Harvard University.