J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Art of Fugue

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Marie-Claire Alain
Individual Works:Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Erato
Catalog Number:4509-91946-2
Year Released/Recorded:1993
Total Playing Time:98'
Comments:On open score, this work has been realized by brass, orchestra and harpsichord. Mme Alain makes a compelling argument for the work as an organ piece on this recording.
Mme has selected a new instrument for this recording, built in 1975 at the Church of St Martin in Masevaux. What the organ lacks in shaping a note, it compensates for in its ability to sustain a note.
The order of the pieces goes a little higgeldy-piggeldy, as this work seems to invite. others write and argue persuasively for different orders, but this order works. Yes, there are times it is difficult to follow the voices, but the overall impact is tremendous. The music of the organ fills a space larger than any other recording of this work I've encountered so far, and with this work, larger is indeed better. This makes the harpsichord recordings sound a little dry and brittle. Less mannered than the string quartet version by Julliard, though not so clear.
This is a recording to have and savor.
Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • David Earls
Date First Submitted:05/13/1997