Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/public/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/public/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/public/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/public/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/public/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/public/wp-includes/http.php on line 61
Die Kunst der Fuge › Recordings with winds
Skip to content

Recordings with winds

For which instrument(s) did Johann Sebastian Bach compose Die Kunst der Fuge, or has it been written for practical performance at all? This question’s answers are almost as numerous as the musicians and musicologists who have been trying to find it, and almost every research finds its own, special result - some of them are quite surprising, as they reveal lots of different methods, interests and temperaments of those who have been working with this opus. Not surprising is one rule that can be found in publications of the most soloists: mostly an organist comes to the conclusion that DKdF should be played on organ, a pianist would find that piano is the best solution, and a harpsichordist discovers harpsichord as the ideal instrument for a performance. Nevertheless, most of them have presented excellent and characterful interpretations, all on their own instrument, and by this means the audience can chose & learn from (and listen to) a great variety of great recordings.

(The hypothesis that the DKdF is a merely theoretical work - for what purpose ever - and should not be played at all, will be neglected on this site, as our claim is to describe the most colourful qualities of MUSIC - and to a “normal” listener, music must be audible.)

Most of the musicians who arranged and played DKdF for quartets or bigger ensembles up to a full orchestra, started by accepting the fact that their version will be an interpretation of the score - in a modern, or “historic”, or personal or whatever destination, but a version that probably is “further from Bach” than a solo (or four-handed) keyboard performance. These results show even bigger variety and might help a listener who is not too acquainted with keyboard rhetoric to find a pathway into this secret garden.

Summing up, none of the musicologists would claim that DKdF has been written for winds. But in fact, there is a number of couraged projects and recordings with wind bands which reveal once more the musical universality of DKdF: not only a new skin for the old ceremony, but another aspect of an organism which starts to live by means of a new breath - in this case, not a divine, but human in-spiration.

P.S. In the eyes & under the hands of a musician, the organ, of course, is a keyboard instrument. But what is it in the categories of a physicist and, at last, in the ears of an innocent listener?