J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Musical Offering & The Art of Fugue

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Reinhard Goebel
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Musica Antiqua Koln
Soloists:Reinhard Goebel - Violin
Hajo Bass - Violin and Viola
Mary Utiger - Violin
Jan Reichow - Violin
Karlheinz Steeb - Viola
Charles Medlam - Viola da Gamba
Phoebe Carrai - Cello
Wilbert Hazelzet - Flute
Andreas Staier - Harpsichord
Robert Hill - Harpsichord
Henk Bouman - Harpsichord
Viola da Gamba
Individual Works:DISC 1:
Musical Offering BWV 1079

The Art of Fugue BWV 1080:

Contrapuncti 1-4
Canon alla Ottava
Contrapuncti 5-7
Canon alla Decima, in Contrapunto alla Terza
Contrapuncti 9 and 10
Contrapuncti 8 and 11
Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta

The Art of Fugue BWV 1080:

Contrapunctus 12, a 4
Contrapunctus 13, a 3
Fuga a 2 Clav.
Alio modo. Fuga a 2 Clav.
Canon per Augmentationem in contrario Motu
Contrapunctus 14 (Fuga a 3 Soggetti)


Canon Trias Harmonica ,a 8, BWV 1072
Canon a 4, perpetuus, BWV 1073
Canon a 4, BWV 1074, BWV 1074
Canon a 2, perpetuus, BWV 1075
Canon triplex a 6, BWV 1076
Canone doppio sopr'il Soggetto, a 4, BWV 1077
Canon Concordia Discors, a 2, BWV 1086
Canon super Fa Mi, a 7, post Tempus Musicum, BWV 1078

Diverse Canons on the first eight notes of the Aria Ground from Goldberg Variations, BWV 1087

Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Archiv Produktion
Catalog Number:413 642
Year Released/Recorded:1979 (BWV 1079), 1984 (others)
Total Playing Time:3-cd's
Approx 2 1/2 Hrs
Related Web Site:http://www.intr.net/bleissa/lists/mak1.html
Comments:Rich Rosenwald said:

This disc set is the only disc left in the 'Bach Compact Disc Edition' series put out in 1985 by Artchiv Produktion. This disc is not availiable in the USA either. I had to special order it from an online record store in California.

This is a very good recording. Most of the other discs in the now deleted 'Bach Compact Disc Edition' series has been reissued. The Musical Offering and the Canons have never been reissued, but the Art of the Fugue has been (Archiv 431 704 and then Archiv 447 293). This is a good set. For anyone who is interested in obtaining this set the two sources are:

1.German Music Express (where I got it from): http://www.musicexpress.com

2. HMV Superstore in Toronto, Can (cheaper): 1-800-567-8468.

I am glad to have this item because all the others in this series have been deleted around the world. Hopefully with time Deutsche Grammophon will reissue this one too.


These recordings have been re-issued in Europe and Canada in 1999 in the Deutsche Grammophon series of "Bach Meisterwerke".


All the works from 413642 have been re-distributed in these two great, lavishly packaged CDs in the above matter. The only drawback is that they lack liner notes.

Jan Hanford said:

Performance: Astonishing
Recording: Perfection

Since it is not available in the U.S., I also bought this cd set from German Music Express: http://www.musicexpress.com. The Art of Fugue has been issued separately on Archive (click here) and is readily available in the U.S.

Reinhard Goebel and the musicians of Musica Antique Koln are of such a consistently high quality level that I will buy anything with their name on it (with the exception of their strangely frenetic Brandenburg Concertos).

This is an exquisite collection; Musica Antiqua Koln's performance is beautiful and lively. The minimal instrumentation perfectly brings out each of the melodic lines.

But the real treasure here is the Canons. These rarely recorded works are excellent. They're very short, few are over a minute, but they are really delightful and some of them are even a little strange (with a Steve Reich-like quality of repetition).

For the Canons this may be the only choice, I don't know of another recording of them. For anyone who doesn't yet own the Musical Offering or Art of Fugue this set is the perfect choice.

Alastair Asher said:

This 3-disc set is the only one which contains the canons, which are hardly to be found in any other recording, and scarcely by any group as eminent as Musica Antiqua Koln.
The Art of Fugue and Musical Offering have been released on separate discs, but neither contains the canons.
For those who want to buy the 3-disc set with the canons, paste this code into any of the Amazon websites: B00000E2VV. It is an ASIN, whatever that is, but it will bring up the right recording.
The canons themselves are oddly beguiling, and very attractive music. They produce delightfully repetitive, dense harmonic music, in a way that can only be done by Bach.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Rich Rosenwald
  • Alastair Asher
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:09/02/1998