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Die Kunst der Fuge › Possible endings of DKdF (complete recordings of the printed score)
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Possible endings of DKdF (complete recordings of the printed score)

Josef Albers, 1925. Frosted glass, cut and paintedWith Choral or not?
BWV 668: Vor Deinen Thron tret ich hiermit; or Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein.

Some of the recordings with orchestra or chamber ensemble have it, and some don’t. None of the harpsichord and none of the solo piano recordings include the choral, probably because of its organ-specific character, but maybe also for conceptional reasons.

The two existing piano duo recordings both contain the choral:
Clarissa Graf Costa & Hans Graf, Vienna 1989, arr. for piano four-hands by Bruno Seidlhofer (1937).
Millette Alexander & Frank Daykin, New York 1994, arr. for two pianos by Erich Schwebsch after W. Graeser (1937).

Most of the organ recordings contain the choral, but two of them have a different one: Barbara Harbach, Rochester N.Y. 1990, ends with Komm, süßer Tod. Heribert Metzger, Salzburg 1999, plays Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin. Miodrag Azanjac’s organ-like arrangement for Flute Choir includes a long coda consisting of three additional chorale versions - Vater unser im Himmelreich, An Wasserflüssen Babylon, and Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.

Other additions:
Michael Radulescu, organ, Switzerland 2000, repeats Cp.1 at the end.

Wiener Saxophon Quartett, on an earlier live recording from 1999, used to add an arrangement of the famous “Air” from the Orchestersuite BWV 1068.

Berliner Saxophon Quartett adds an unnecessary “free spatial improvisation”.

Last Fugue Shortened:
Gustav Leonhardt (Vienna 1953) forms a rather organic “final” chord five bars before Bach’s interruption. In his later recording (Germany 1969) he doesn’t play the whole last fugue at all, with rich explanations in the booklet - he comes to the conclusion that the last fugue is not part of DKdF at all.

Maybe that’s the reason why Herbert Tachezi also didn’t include it on his “complete” organ recording from 1977.

Kölner Violen Consort (1995) deleted the tenor’s last seven notes and end with a little chord.

Glenn Gould, Toronto 1981, surprisingly interrupts his playing a few bars before Bach did.

Last Fugue Completed:
Walter Kolneder, in his book from 1977, has collected some 20 attempts of finding a completed solution. Today, some can be heard on records or CDs:
Lionel Rogg for organ (sixties)
Davitt Moroney for harpsichord (1985)
Bernard Labadie for orchestra, based on Moroney’s (2001)
Donald Francis Tovey for string quartet (1931; recorded 1999 with The Delmé Quartet)
Erich Bergel for organ, as well as for orchestra (1985; rec. 1991 with the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra in Budapest)

A suggestion:
Has anyone ever tried to add, as a finale, the so-called “Little Fugue” in g-minor BWV 578?