The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750

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9780520253896: The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750

Fugue for J. S. Bach was a natural language; he wrote fugues in organ toccatas and voluntaries, in masses and motets, in orchestral and chamber music, and even in his sonatas for violin solo. The more intimate fugues he wrote for keyboard are among the greatest, most influential, and best-loved works in all of Western music. They have long been the foundation of the keyboard repertory, played by beginning students and world-famous virtuosi alike. In a series of elegantly written essays, eminent musicologist Joseph Kerman discusses his favorite Bach keyboard fugues—some of them among the best-known fugues and others much less familiar. Kerman skillfully, at times playfully, reveals the inner workings of these pieces, linking the form of the fugues with their many different characters and expressive qualities, and illuminating what makes them particularly beautiful, powerful, and moving.

These witty, insightful pieces, addressed to musical amateurs as well as to specialists and students, are beautifully augmented by a CD with new performances made specially for this volume. In addition to the complete scores for all the music discussed in the book, the CD features Karen Rosenak, piano, playing two preludes and fugues from TheWell-Tempered Clavier—C Major, book 1; and B Major, book 2—and recordings by Davitt Moroney of the Fughetta in C Major, BWV 952, on clavichord; the Fugue on "Jesus Christus unser Heiland," BWV 689, on organ; and the Fantasy and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 904, on harpsichord.

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From the Inside Flap:

It is sweet and fitting that Joseph Kerman, who has given us such insight into William Byrd, one of music's inspiring octogenarians, should have celebrated his own eightieth birthday by completing this rich and constantly surprising study of Bach’s fugues. As ever, Kerman's hearing is sharp, his thinking precise and original, and his prose elegant and sapid. Who would have thought that one could write about fugues with such warmth and love, and with such an exhilarating sense of joy?” Michael Steinberg, author of The Symphony: A Listener’s Guide

"Joseph Kerman's writings on Bach are astonishing, stimulating. . . they help the musician and listener to encounter the sometimes impenetrable music of Bach in a way which is marvelous and accessible." Stephen Kovacevich

About the Author:

Joseph Kerman, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, is author of Concerto Conversations, Write All These Down, and Opera as Drama, among other books. He was a founding editor of the journal 19th-Century Music and is a regular contributor to the New York Review.

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Joseph Kerman
Editore: University of California Press (2008)
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