Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta: Canon at the twelfth, counterpoint at the fifth. Fuga a 2 rectus , and Alio modo Fuga a 2 inversus Unfinished quadruple fugue: Sources of the work The order of the fugues and canons has been debated, especially as there are differences between the manuscript and the printed editions appearing immediately after Bach's death. It is however doubtful whether the printed indication "a 2 Clav. The engraving of the copper plates for the printed edition would however have started shortly before the composer's death, according to contemporary sources, but it is unlikely that Bach had any real supervision in that preparation of the printed edition, due to his illness at the time.
The first printed edition also includes an unrelated work as a kind of "encore", the chorale prelude Vor deinen Thron tret Ich hiermit Herewith I come before Thy Throne , BWV a, which Bach is said to have dictated on his deathbed. Instrumentation Manuscript copies of the Art of Fugue, as well as the first printed edition, use open scoring, where each voice is written on its own staff. This has led to the assumption that the Art of Fugue was an intellectual exercise, meant to be studied and not heard.
However, musicologists today, such as Gustav Leonhardt, agree that the Art of Fugue was probably intended to be played on a keyboard instrument. It was common practice in the 17th and early 18th centuries to publish keyboard pieces in open score, especially those that are contrapuntally complex.
The range of none of the ensemble or orchestral instruments of the period corresponds to any of the ranges of the voices in The Art of Fugue. Furthermore, none of the melodic shapes that characterize Bach's ensemble writing are found in the work, and there is no basso continuo. The fugue types used are reminiscent of the types in The Well-Tempered Clavier, rather than Bach's ensemble fugues; Leonhardt also shows an "optical" resemblance between the fugues of the two collections, and points out other stylistic similarities between them.
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Finally, since the bass voice in The Art of Fugue occasionally rises above the tenor, and the tenor becomes the "real" bass, Leonhardt deduces that the bass part was not meant to be doubled at foot pitch, thus eliminating the pipe organ as the intended instrument, leaving the harpsichord as the most logical choice. The fact that it is playable on a keyboard at all is evidence for some that this was Bach's intended instrument, as it is not possible to play most of his ensemble pieces on a keyboard instrument. The unfinished fugue Contrapunctus XIV breaks off abruptly in the middle of the third section at bar The title Fuga a 3 soggetti, in Italian rather than Latin, was not given by the composer but by CPE Bach, and Bach's Obituary actually makes mention of "a draft for a fugue that was to contain four themes in four voices".
The combination of all four themes would bring the entire work to a fitting climax. Wolff also suspected that Bach may have finished the fugue on a lost page, called "fragment X" by him, on which the composer attempted to work out the counterpoint between the four subjects. In , New Zealand organist and conductor Indra Hughes completed a doctoral thesis about the unfinished ending of Contrapunctus XIV, proposing that the work was left unfinished not because Bach died, but as a deliberate choice by Bach to encourage independent efforts at a completion.
A book titled "Bach: Essays on His Life and Music" includes an article about the unfinished fugue, stating that Bach never intended to write the rest of the fugue on the last sheet of music paper used for the fugue because of the unalignment of the bottom staves. It also says that because of the above-mentioned reason, Bach wrote the rest of the fugue on another sheet of music paper, called "fragment x" that would have completed, or almost completed, the fugue.
However, even if there is a fragment x, it has been lost. The superimposition of the three exposition matrices foreshadows, and develops as a negative, the sequence of the voice entries of the fourth subject. The copying of the four subjects onto each other displays a characteristic construction of Bach's oeuvre occurring mainly in the vocal fugues: that of the permutation fugue. However paradoxical, it follows from the logic of composing a quadruple fugue that the combinations joining all four subjects i. The process of composition does not proceed in a linear way from the beginning, but with all four parts in view.
In the exposition of the first three subjects he "programmed" the later permutation stretti, then applied the expositions as "programs", "algorithms". The permutation matrix, apart from originating authentically with Bach, can be proved to have been ready at the time of the genesis of the work that is, earlier than the surviving section. The discovery of the permutation matrix was one of the most essential requirements for achieving a reconstruction of Contrapunctus XIV which might approach the original form planned by Bach.
The arguments revolve upon Bach's friendship with Johann Matthias Gesner, whom he had known in Weimar and who in moved to the Thomasschule at Leipzig where Bach was Cantor as rector. There Gesner taught Greek philosophy with an emphasis on Pythagorean thought.
Bach was one of four distinguished dedicatees of Mizler's doctoral dissertation on Music as part of a Philosophical Education. The society was concerned with the union of music, philosophy, mathematics and science in Pythagorean theory, and required each member to contribute a practical work in demonstration of this approach, for which Bach produced his Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her" for organ, BWV , and the Canon triplex a 6 voci.
The Art of Fugue The points of this analysis are that the work constitutes an enigma in the classical sense of a puzzle contained within its structure. This subsists in the numerical and philosophical relations of Unity one key signature throughout and the thematic synthesis ; Tetraktys the relation of 1, 2, 3 and 4 as arranged to form the perfect triangle , the mirror or speculum principle, Contrapunctus as derived from Aristotelian terminology referring to balancing opposites, the Music of the Spheres is possibly reflected in Fugues , and in the term Fugue, meaning 'flight', which refers both to the flight of the musical phrases and the flight of the soul to God.
The Society had in fact attempted to establish principles for the writing of cantatas which were not in line with his own approach. Films about the Art of Fugue The documentary film Desert Fugue is a 90 minute documentary about the history of the Art of Fugue and its suitability for performance on the organ. This recording includes as a bonus track an alternative take of the final unfinished fugue with the completion by Helmut Walcha. Roth Quartet includes conjectural end played by Donald Tovey on keyboard. List of compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach Bach compositions printed during the composer's lifetime Unfinished symphony The Art of Fugue discography.
Notes and references  Some consider it a work which was completed, but is incompletely preserved today, either because its publication by engraving was not completed, or because the last pages of the manuscript were misplaced by Bach's son. See notes below. The Journal of Musicology, Vol. He died before the engraving was completed; hence the work has come down to us in a seemingly incomplete form. Schweitzer, J. Bach, trans. An elaboration in a series of lectures was offered by Dentler at the Scuola Communale de Musica de Grosseto, 27—29 January David Peat, 'J.
Bach Black, , Chapter XI. Bach some years earlier. The version used by Gounod has the addition of one measure m. Henle Verlag Urtext printed editions. It is often performed in Christian wedding ceremonies. Pop and opera singers, such as Luciano Pavarotti, as well as choirs have recorded it hundreds of times during the twentieth century.
Later in his career, Gounod also composed a setting of Ave Maria for a four-part SATB choir, which is musically unrelated to the more well-known solo version. Though it was written for the lute, it may be played with other string instruments, such as the guitar, mandola or mandocello, and keyboard instruments, and it is especially well-known among guitarists. It also demonstrates contrary counterpoint, as the two voices play opposite of one another. In classical music Robert Schumann quotes the first 14 notes of this memorable theme transposed to G minor in 3 of the six Op.
There also appears to be an echo of this reference in the next fugue, 4. References  Elizabeth T. Retrieved It was written for the Christmas season of incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during and and a now lost church cantata, BWV a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici Picander. The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in and for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio BWV 11 and the Easter Oratorio BWV All include a tenor Evangelist as narrator and parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.
The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours. The first part for Christmas Day describes the Birth of Jesus, the second for December 26 the annunciation to the shepherds, the third for December 27 the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth for New Year's Day the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth for the first Sunday after New Year the journey of the Magi, and the sixth for Epiphany the adoration of the Magi.
Bach abandoned his usual practice when writing church cantatas of basing the content upon the Gospel reading for that day in order to achieve a coherent narrative structure. Were he to have followed the calendar, the story would have unfolded as follows: 1. This would have resulted in the Holy Family fleeing before the Magi had arrived, which was unsuitable for an oratorio evidently planned as a coherent whole.
Bach removed the content for the Third Day of Christmas December 27 , John's Gospel, and split the story of the two groups of visitors —Shepherds and Magi— into two. This resulted in a more understandable exposition of the Christmas story: 1. The Birth 2. The fifth part finishes with the Flight into Egypt. That Bach saw the six parts as comprising a greater, unified whole is evident both from the surviving printed text and from the structure of the music itself.
The edition has not only a title —Weihnachtsoratorium— connecting together the six sections, but these sections are also numbered consecutively. As John Butt has mentioned, this points, as in the Mass in B Minor, to a unity beyond the performance constraints of the church year. Performance The oratorio was written for performance on six feast days of Christmas during the winter of and The original score also contains details of when each part was performed. It was incorporated within services of the two most important churches in Leipzig, St.
As can be seen below, the work was only performed in its entirety at the St. Nicholas Church. Nicholas; 'in the afternoon' at St. Thomas; afternoon at St. Music Bach expresses the unity of the whole work within the music itself, in part through his use of key signatures. Parts I and III are similarly scored for exuberant trumpets, while the Pastoral Part II referring to the Shepherds is, by contrast, scored for woodwind instruments and does not include an opening chorus.
Part IV is written in F major the relative key to D minor and marks the furthest musical point away from the oratorio's opening key, scored for horns. Bach then embarks upon a journey back to the opening key, via the dominant A major of Part V to the jubilant re-assertion of D major in the final part, lending an overall arc to the piece.
To reinforce this connection, between the beginning and the end of the work, Bach re-uses the chorale melody of Part I's Wie soll ich dich empfangen? The music represents a particularly sophisticated expression of the parody technique, by which existing music is adapted to a new purpose. Bach took the majority of the choruses and arias from works which had been written some time earlier.
Most of this music was 'secular', that is written in praise of royalty or notable local figures, outside the tradition of performance within the church. Erschallet, Trompeten!
In addition to these sources, the sixth cantata is thought to have been taken almost entirely from a now-lost church cantata, BWV a. The trio aria in Part V Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen?
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Instrumentation The scoring below refers to parts, rather than necessarily to individual players. Adherents of theories specifying small numbers of performers even to 'One Voice Per Part' may however choose to use numbers approaching one instrument per named part. Part I 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo group  Part II 2 flutes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 oboes da caccia, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part III 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part IV 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part V 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Part VI.
Christmas Oratorio 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo Notes  Sleeve notes to Philip Pickett's recording of the Christmas Oratorio Decca, ,  Werner Breig, sleeve notes to John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the Christmas Oratorio Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, ,  The continuo part is open to interpretation in matters of scoring.
Channel Classics Records, CCS SA  The different types of oboes referred to above are mostly called for at different points in each section. However, numbers 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in Part II call for 2 oboes d'amore and 2 oboes da caccia. This scoring was intended to symbolise the shepherds who are the subject of the second part.
It is a reference to the pastoral music tradition of shepherds playing shawm-like instruments at Christmas. Similarly, the pastoral sinfony in Handel's Messiah is known as the 'Pifa' after the Italian piffero or piffaro, similar to the shawm and an ancestor of the oboe. Text The ease with which the new text fits the existing music is one of the indications of how successful a parody the Christmas Oratorio is of its sources.
It may have even been the case that the Christmas Oratorio was already planned when Bach wrote the secular cantatas BWV , and , given that the original works were written fairly close to the oratorio and the seamless way with which the new words fit the existing music. On this occasion, however, the parody technique proved to be unsuccessful and Bach composed the aria afresh.
Similarly, the opening chorus to Part V, Ehre sei dir Gott! The third major new piece of writing with the notable exception of the recitatives , the sublime pastoral Sinfonia which opens Part II, was composed from scratch for the new work. In addition to the new compositions listed above, special mention must go to the recitatives, which knit together the oratorio into a coherent whole. In particular, Bach made particularly effective use of recitative when combining it with chorales in no.
Parts and numbers Each section combines choruses a pastoral Sinfonia opens Part II instead of a chorus , chorales and from the soloists recitatives, ariosos and arias. The tables below do not show a key signature or a time signature for recitatives because they are all nominally in the key of that part and in common time. The exceptions are No. In any case, a key and time signatures for a recitative are merely musical notation. In some years, there is no such day, e. Recorded in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig. Recorded in Schloss Ludwigsburg.
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD Harmonia Mundi, This recording is used in the film Juloratoriet English title: Christmas Oratorio. Rondeau Production. Their inclusion in that work has been occasionally considered strange by scholars, and many theories have arisen surrounding the duets' origins, purpose and significance. History The first version of the work was completed as a cantata for Easter Sunday in Leipzig on April 1, , then under the title Kommt, gehet und eilet.
In a later version in the s the third movement was expanded from a duet to a four-part chorus. Its author is Picander who is also likely the author of the oratorio's text. It seems possible that the third movement is based on the concerto's finale. Structure The oratorio - different from the Christmas Oratorio - has no narrator but four characters assigned to the four voice parts: Simon Peter tenor and John the Apostle bass , appearing in the first duet hurrying to Jesus' grave and finding it empty, meeting there Mary Magdalene alto and "the other Mary", Mary Jacobe soprano.
The choir was present only in the final movement until a later performance in the s when the opening duet was set partly for four voices. The music is festively scored for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, oboe d'amore, bassoon, two recorders, transverse flute, violins, and basso continuo.
Music The oratorio opens with two contrasting instrumental movements, an Allegro concerto grosso of the full orchestra with solo sections for violin and oboes, and an Adagio oboe melody over "Seufzer" motifs sighs in the strings. The first duet of the disciples was set for chorus in a later version, the middle section remaining a duet. Many runs illustrate the movement toward the grave. The final movement in two contrasting sections resembles the Sanctus composed for Christmas and later part of the Mass in B Minor.
They were believed for a long time to have been composed by one of Bach's pupils, Johann Tobias Krebs, based on certain unusual characteristics of the music when played on the organ. These pieces came to be played often on the organ in the 19th and 20th centuries, and were especially useful as teaching pieces for beginners.
Subsequent scholarship by Speerstra, Vogel and others has suggested that this collection was conceived specifically for the pedal clavichord, thereby making the stylistic claim of inauthenticity far less tenable. Several elements of the pieces, including the rolling of large chords, octave doublings and repeater notes, and the patterns of movement of the fingers and feet, the rhythm, and overall texture are idiomatic on the clavichord but make little sense on the organ.
Performer Harald Vogel has recorded the collection on a pedal clavichord along with an essay by Speerstra see liner notes on the clavichordistic nature of these pieces and a discussion of the manuscript indications. These works continue to be performed frequently in Christian churches because of their short length about 3 minutes each and ease of performance compared to the undoubtedly authentic preludes and fugues of J.
Nearly all serious students of organ performance learn most, if not all, of these works. References Bach, J. First published in , the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer. Composition The tale of how the variations came to be composed comes from an early biography of Bach by Johann Nikolaus Forkel: [For this work] we have to thank the instigation of the former Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony, Count Kaiserling, who often stopped in Leipzig and brought there with him the aforementioned Goldberg, in order to have him given musical instruction by Bach.
The Count was often ill and had sleepless nights. At such times, Goldberg, who lived in his house, had to spend the night in an antechamber, so as to play for him during his insomnia. Once the Count mentioned in Bach's presence that he would like to have some clavier pieces for Goldberg, which should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights.
Bach thought himself best able to fulfill this wish by means of Variations, the writing of which he had until then considered an ungrateful task on account of the repeatedly similar harmonic foundation. But since at this time all his works were already models of art, such also these variations became under his hand.
Yet he produced only a single work of this kind. Thereafter the Count always called them his variations. He never tired of them, and for a long time sleepless nights meant: 'Dear Goldberg, do play me one of. Goldberg Variations my variations. The Count presented him with a golden goblet filled with louis-d'or. Nevertheless, even had the gift been a thousand times larger, their artistic value would not yet have been paid for. The lack of dedication on the title page of the "Aria with Diverse Variations" also makes the tale of the commission unlikely. Goldberg's age at the time of publication 14 years has also been cited as grounds for doubting Forkel's tale, although it must be said that he was known to be an accomplished keyboardist and sight-reader.
In a recent book-length study, keyboardist and Bach scholar Peter Williams contends that the Forkel story is entirely spurious. The aria on which the variations are based was suggested by Arnold Schering not to have been written by Bach. More recent scholarly literature such as the edition by Christoph Wolff suggests that there is no basis for such doubts. Publication Rather unusually for Bach's works, the Goldberg Variations were published in his own lifetime, in The publisher was Bach's friend Balthasar Schmid of Nuremberg. Schmid printed the work by making engraved copper plates rather than using movable type ; thus the notes of the first edition are in Schmid's own handwriting.
The edition contains various printing errors. Composed for connoisseurs, for the refreshment of their spirits, by Johann Sebastian Bach, composer for the royal court of Poland and the Electoral court of Saxony, Kapellmeister and Director of Choral Music in Leipzig. Nuremberg, Balthasar Schmid, publisher. These copies provide virtually the only information available to modern editors trying to reconstruct Bach's intent; the autograph hand-written score has not survived. A handwritten copy of just the aria is found in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. Christoph Wolff suggests on the basis of handwriting evidence that Anna Magdalena copied the aria from the autograph score around ; it appears on two pages previously left blank.
Form After a statement of the aria at the beginning of the piece, there are thirty variations. The variations do not follow the melody of the aria, but rather use its bass line and chord progression. The bass line is notated by Ralph Kirkpatrick in his performing edition as follows. The digits above the notes indicate the specified chord in the system of figured bass; where digits are separated by comma, they indicate different options taken in different variations.
Every third variation in the series of 30 is a canon, following an ascending pattern. Thus, variation 3 is a canon at the unison, variation 6 is a canon at the second the second entry begins the interval of a second above the first , variation 9 is a canon at the third, and so on until variation 27, which is a canon at the ninth. The final variation, instead of being the expected canon in the tenth, is a quodlibet, discussed below.
As Ralph Kirkpatrick has pointed out, the variations that intervene between the canons are also arranged in a pattern.
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If we leave aside the initial and final material of the work specifically, the Aria, the first two variations, the Quodlibet, and the aria da capo , the remaining material is arranged as follows. The variations found just after each canon are genre pieces of various types, among them three Baroque dances 4, 7, 19 ; a fughetta 10 ; a French overture 16 ; and two ornate arias for the right hand 13, The variations located two after each canon 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29 are what Kirkpatrick calls "arabesques"; they are variations in lively tempo with a great deal of hand-crossing.
All the variations are in G major, apart from variations 15, 21, and 25, which are in G minor. Variations for one and two manuals The work was composed for a two-manual harpsichord see musical keyboard. Variations 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27 and 28 are specified in the score for two manuals, while variations 5, 7 and 29 are specified as playable with either one or two. With greater difficulty, the work can nevertheless be played on a single-manual harpsichord or piano.
The French style of ornamentation suggests that the ornaments are supposed to be parts of the melody, however some performers for example Wilhelm Kempff on piano omit some or all ornaments and present the aria unadorned. Peter Williams comments in Bach: The Goldberg Variations that this is not the theme at all, but actually the first variation a view emphasising the idea of the work as a chaconne rather than a piece in true variation form. Variatio 1.
This sprightly variation contrasts markedly with the slow, contemplative mood of the theme. The rhythm in the right hand forces the emphasis on the second beat, giving rise to syncopation from bars 1 to 7. Hands cross at bar 13 from the upper register to the lower, bringing back this syncopation for another two bars. In the first two bars of the B part, the rhythm mirrors that of the beginning of the A part, but after this a different idea is introduced. Williams sees this as a sort of polonaise. The characteristic rhythm in the left hand is also found in Bach's Partita No. Variatio 2.
The piece is almost a pure canon. Each section has an alternate ending to be played on the first and second repeat. Variatio 3. As with all canons of the Goldberg Variations except the 27th variation, canon at the ninth , there is a supporting bass line here. Variatio 4. Bach uses close but not exact imitation: the musical pattern in one part reappears a bar later in another sometimes inverted.
Variatio 5. This is the first of the hand-crossing, two-part variations. A rapid melodic line written predominantly in sixteenth notes is accompanied by another melody with longer note values, which features very wide leaps:. The Italian type of hand-crossing is employed here, with one hand constantly moving back and forth between high and low registers while the other hand stays in the middle of the keyboard, playing the fast passages. Variatio 6. Canone alla Seconda The sixth variation is a canon at the second: the follower starts a major second higher than the leader.
The harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick describes this piece as having "an almost nostalgic tenderness". Variatio 7. In , when scholars discovered Bach's own copy of the first printing of the Goldberg Variations, they noted that over this variation Bach had added the heading al tempo di Giga. But the implications of this discovery for modern performance have turned out to be less clear than was at first assumed. In his book The Keyboard Music of J. Bach  the scholar and keyboardist David Schulenberg notes that the discovery "surprised twentieth-century commentators who supposed gigues were always fast and fleeting.
He concludes, "It need not go quickly.
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What, then, was Bach trying to convey by adding the al tempo di giga notation to his Handexemplar? Pianist Angela Hewitt, in the liner notes to her Hyperion recording, argues that he was trying to caution against taking too slow a tempo, and thus turning the dance into a forlane or siciliano. She does however argue, like Schulenberg, that it is a French gigue, not an Italian giga and does play it at an unhurried tempo. Variatio 8. The French style of hand-crossing is employed, with both hands playing at the same part of the keyboard, one above the other.
This is relatively easy to perform on a two-manual harpsichord, but quite hard to do on a piano. Most bars feature either a distinctive pattern of eleven sixteenth notes and a sixteenth rest, or ten sixteenth notes and a single eighth note. Large leaps in the melody can be observed, for instance, in bars from B below middle C in bar 9, from A above middle C to an A an octave higher in bar 10, and from G above middle C to a G an octave higher in bar Both sections end with descending passages in thirty-second notes.
Variatio 9. Canone alla Terza. The supporting bass line is slightly more active than in the previous canons. This short variation 16 bars is usually played at a slow tempo. Variatio Fughetta a 1 Clav. Variation 10 is a four-voice fughetta, with a four-bar subject heavily decorated with ornaments and somewhat reminiscent of the opening aria's melody.
The exposition takes up the whole first section of this variation pictured. First the subject is stated in the bass, starting on the G below middle C. The answer in the tenor enters in bar 5, but it's a tonal answer, so some of the intervals are altered. The soprano voice enters in bar 9, but only keeps the first two bars of the subject intact,. Goldberg Variations changing the rest.
The final entry occurs in the alto in bar There is no regular counter-subject in this fugue. The second section develops using the same thematic material with slight changes. It resembles a counter-exposition: the voices enter one by one, all begin by stating the subject sometimes a bit altered, like in the first section. The section begins with the subject heard once again, in the soprano voice, accompanied by an active bass line, making the bass part the only exception since it doesn't pronounce the subject until bar Specified for two manuals, it is largely made up of various scale passages, arpeggios and trills, and features much hand-crossing of different kinds.
Canone alla Quarta. The follower appears inverted in the second bar. In the first section, the left hand accompanies with a bass line written out in repeated quarter notes, in bars 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. This repeated note motif also appears in the first bar of the second section bar 17, two Ds and a C , and, slightly altered, in bars 22 and In the second section, Bach changes the mood slightly by introducing a few appoggiaturas bars 19 and 20 and trills bars Most of the melody is written out using thirty-second notes, and ornamented with a few appoggiaturas more frequent in the second section and a few mordents.
Throughout the piece, the melody is in one voice, and in bars 16 and 24 an interesting effect is produced by the use of an additional voice. Here are bars 15 and 16, the ending of the first section bar 24 exhibits a similar pattern :. It is specified for two manuals and features large jumps between registers. Both features ornaments and leaps in the melody are apparent from the first bar: the piece begins with a transition from the G two octaves below middle C, with a lower mordent, to the G two octaves above it with a trill with initial turn. Contrasting it with Variation 15, Glenn Gould described this variation as "certainly one of the giddiest bits of neo-Scarlatti-ism imaginable.
Canone alla Quinta. Like Variation 12, it is in contrary motion with the leader appearing inverted in the second bar. This is the first of the three variations in G minor, and its melancholic mood contrasts sharply with the playfulness of the previous variation. Pianist Angela Hewitt notes that there is "a wonderful effect at the very end [of this variation]: the hands move away from each other, with the right suspended in mid-air on an open fifth. This gradual fade, leaving us in awe but ready for more, is a fitting end to the first half of the piece.
The set of variations can be seen as being divided into two halves, clearly marked by this grand French overture, commencing with a particularly emphatic opening and closing chords. It consists of a slow prelude with dotted rhythms with a following fugue-like contrapuntal section. This variation is another two-part virtuosic toccata. Specified for 2 manuals, the piece features hand-crossing. Rosalyn Tureck is one of the very few performers who recorded slow interpretations of the piece. Canone alla Sexta. The canonic interplay in the upper voices features many suspensions.
Commenting on the structure of the canons of the Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould cited this variation as the extreme example of "deliberate duality of motivic emphasis [ The same sixteenth note figuration is continuously employed and variously exchanged between each of the three voices. Specified for two manuals, it involves rapid hand-crossing. The piece consists mostly of variations on the texture introduced during its first eight bars, where one hand plays a string of eighth notes and the other accompanies by plucking sixteenth notes after each eighth note.
To demonstrate this, here are the first two bars of the first section:. Canone alla Settima. A similar pattern, only a bit more lively, occurs in the bass line in the beginning of the second section, which begins with the opening motif inverted. The only specified ornament is a trill which is performed on a whole note and which lasts for two bars 11 and The ground bass on which the entire set of variations is built is heard perhaps most explicitly in this variation as well as in the Quodlibet due to the simplicity of the bass voice.
It begins with the hands chasing one another, as it were: the melodic line, initiated in the left hand with a sharp striking of the G above middle C, and then sliding down from the D above to the A, is offset by the right hand, imitating the left at the same pitch, but a quaver late, for the first three bars, ending with a small flourish in the fourth:. This pattern is repeated during bars , only with the left hand imitating the right one, and the scales are ascending, not descending.
We then alternate between hands in short bursts written out in short note values until the last three bars of the first section. The second section starts with this similar alternation in short bursts again, then leads to a dramatic section of alternating thirds between hands.
Peter Williams, marvelling at the emotional range of the work, asks: "Can this really be a variation of the same theme that lies behind the adagio no 25? Canone all'Ottava. The leader is answered both an octave below and an octave above; it is the only canon of the variations in which the leader alternates between voices in the middle of a section.
The melody is written out predominantly in 16th and 32nd notes, with many chromaticisms. This variation generally lasts longer than any other piece of the set. Wanda Landowska famously described this variation as "the black pearl" of the Goldberg Variations. Peter Williams writes that "the beauty and dark passion of this variation make it unquestionably the emotional high point of the work", and Glenn Gould said that "the appearance of this wistful, weary cantilena is a master-stroke of psychology.
In sharp contrast with the introspective and passionate nature of the previous variation, this piece is another virtuosic two-part toccata, joyous and fast-paced. Underneath the rapid arabesques, this variation is basically a sarabande. Canone alla Nona. This is the only canon where two manuals are specified not due to hand-crossing difficulties , and the only pure canon of the work, because it does not have a bass line.
Trills are written out using 32nd notes and are present in most of the bars. The piece begins with a pattern in which each hand successively picks out a melodic line while also playing trills. Following this is a section with both hands playing in contrary motion in a melodic contour marked by 16th notes bars The end of the first section features trills again, in both hands now and mirroring one another:. The second section starts and closes with the contrary motion idea seen in bars Most of the closing bars feature trills in one or both hands.
This variation consists mostly of heavy chords alternating with sections of brilliant arpeggios shared between the hands. A rather grand variation, it adds an air of resolution after the lofty brilliance of the previous variation. Glenn Gould states that variations 28 and 29 present the only case of "motivic collaboration or extension between successive variations. The others have been forgotten.
From this devout beginning they proceeded to jokes which were frequently in strong contrast. That is, they then sang popular songs partly of comic and also partly of indecent content, all mixed together on the spur of the moment. This kind of improvised harmonizing they called a Quodlibet, and not only could laugh over it quite whole-heartedly themselves, but also aroused just as hearty and irresistible laughter in all who heard them. Forkel's anecdote which is likely to be true, given that he was able to interview Bach's sons , suggests fairly clearly that Bach meant the Quodlibet to be a joke.
Aria da Capo A note for note repeat of the aria at the beginning. Williams writes that the work's "elusive beauty Its melody is made to stand out by what has gone on in the last five variations, and it is likely to appear wistful or nostalgic or subdued or resigned or sad, heard on its repeat as something coming to an end, the same notes but now final.
Canons on the Goldberg ground, BWV This late contrapuntal work consists of fourteen canons built on the first eight bass notes from the aria of the Goldberg variations. It was found in , in Strasbourg Alsace, France , forming an appendix to the Bach's personal printed edition of the Goldberg Variations.
Among those canons, the eleventh and the thirteenth are a sort of first version of BWV and BWV , which is included in the famous portrait of Bach painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in Transcribed and popularized versions The Goldberg Variations have been reworked freely by many performers, changing either the instrumentation, the notes, or both. Italian composer Haussmann's portrait of Bach depicts him Ferruccio Busoni prepared a massively altered transcription for piano.
Max Reger, transcription for two pianos, op. Schirmer, Contains an extensive preface by the editor and a facsimile of the original title page. New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, editorial work dates from the nineteenth century. Includes interpretive markings by the editor not indicated as such. Vienna: Wiener Urtext Edition, An urtext edition, making use of the new findings resulting from the discovery of an original copy hand-corrected by the composer. Includes suggested fingerings and notes on interpretation by harpsichordist Huguette Dreyfus.
Verschiedene Canones Bach BWV The editor suggests a complete complement of all fourteen canons. See also Online Scores, below. Translation from Kirkpatrick Williams See List of compositions by J. The Keyboard Music of J. An English translation was published by Da Capo Press in A State of Wonder: Disc 3 Sony. Edition of the Goldberg Variations.
Bach: The Goldberg Variations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bach, pp. New York and Oxford: Routledge. Johann Sebastian Bach. Le Variazioni Goldberg. Bologna: Albisani Editore. The works form an encyclopedic collection of large scale chorale preludes, in a variety of styles harking back to the previous century, that Bach gradually perfected during his career. Early versions of almost all the chorale preludes are thought to date back to —, during the period — when Bach served as court organist and concertmaster in Weimar, at the court of Wilhelm Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Weimar.
As his son Carl Philip Emanuel Bach mentions in his obituary or nekrolog: "His grace's delight in his playing fired him to attempt everything possible in the art of how to treat the organ.
Here he also wrote most of his organ works. The organ loft is visible at the top the chapel just below the roof, it had two manual keyboards, a of the picture. It is probable that the longer chorale preludes composed then served some ceremonial function during the services in the court chapel, such as accompanying communion.
The manuscript is made up. In when Bach began to suffer from blindness before his death in July, BWV and were dictated to his student and son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnikol and copied posthumously into the manuscript. Only the first page of the last choral prelude BWV , the so-called "deathbed chorale", has survived, recorded by an unknown copyist. There have been various accounts of the circumstances surrounding the composition of this chorale. The biographical account from of Johann Nicolaus Forkel that Altnikol was copying the work at the composer's deathbed has since been discounted: in the second half of the eighteenth century, it had become an apocryphal legend, encouraged by Bach's heirs, Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and Wilhelm Friedmann Bach.
Compositional models The breadth of styles and forms represented by the Great Eighteen is as diverse as that of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier for the keyboard. It is a mid-eighteenth century salute to the musical traditions of the previous century. The single surviving page of the manuscript of Vor deinen Thron tret ich, BWV , recorded by an  unknown copyist in the last year of Bach's life. The Renaissance motet, in madrigal style, forms the model for the chorale motet, used in BWV and Each line of the chorale is established as a point of imitation for the different parts, which keep to a common rhythm.
A common distinctive feature is the use of musical figures to illustrate particular lines or even words in the hymn text. Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes Chorale partita The chorale partita is a set of variations on a chorale melody. Normally each variation repeats the chorale melody and is essentially a separate movement. This might be a homage to Buxtehude, who had written similar partitas and whose music and virtuosity at the organ is known to have exercised a considerable influence on Bach in his youth.
Buxtehude was one its most celebrated exponents, with his individual expressive "vocal" ornamentation. Five chorale preludes of the Great Eighteen were written in this style: BWV , , , and One of his students was Johann Christian Bach, Bach's older brother, who in turn taught Bach keyboard technique. There are six examples of the cantus firmus chorale: BWV , , , , and Bach elevated this form to the status of contemporary Italian trio sonatas or double concertos of Antonio Vivaldi and Giuseppe Torelli: it is probably his single most original innovation in the repertoire of organ chorales.
The three virtuosic chorale preludes of this type are BWV , and To listen to a midi recording, please click on the link. Top left is Bach's  motto "J. The gentle ritornellos of the accompanying parts in the two upper parts and pedal of this sarabande, anticipate the ornamented chorale in the tenor, evoking the mournful tone of the hymn, the "organs and harps, hung up on willow trees", based on Psalm In a famous concert in on the great organ in St Catherine's Church in Hamburg, Bach had improvised for almost half an hour on the same hymn tune as a tribute to the church's organist Johann Adam Reinken and his celebrated fantasy on the same theme.
Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes Similar in texture to movements from the organ trio sonatas, this jubilant and lively concerto-like chorale prelude echos the "eternal joy and blissful light" of the last verse. The two manual solo parts and pedal continuo are based on elements from the cantus fermus, which is heard in its entirety in the pedal part of the recapitulation.
The beautiful melody, endlessly prolonged and never fully perceptible amid the freely spiraling arabesques, evokes the mystery of the incarnation; it is matched by the perfection of the accompaniment. It has two ornate fugal inner parts over a continuo-like pedal, with a florid and melismatic cantus firmus in the. Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes soprano, its figurations reminiscent of those for obligato violin or oboe in the Weimar cantatas e. The chorale prelude is in three parts: six fugal statements of the ritornello; a series of brilliant violinistic episodes with suspensions, semiquavers and prolonged trills, punctuated twice by the ritornello in the minor mode; and a return of the ritornello over the cantus firmus ending in a long pedal point.
When there are two or three earlier versions, the numbering uses other letters of the alphabet, for example BWV a, b and c. The variant BWV a is the complete version of the chorale prelude that was published as an appendix to the Art of the Fugue, possibly to compensate for the unfinished final fugue, Contrapunctus XIV. Publication The Great Eighteen were known throughout Germany by the turn of the nineteenth century, but only the last chorale prelude was available in print, in several editions, thanks to its reputation as the "deathbed chorale".
Prior to the two Leipzig editions of Felix Mendelssohn in which omitted BWV , , and and of Griepenkerl and Roitzsch in which was complete , the only other published chorale prelude of the Great Eighteen was the. Schicht's four-volume anthology. Berlin dedicated to Brahms. Recorded in on the large Silbermann organ in Freiberg Cathedral, Germany, dating from The chorale preludes, recorded in on the G. Nekrolog auf Johann Sebastian Bach. Vol 4, pt 1. Stinson , pp. Faksimile der Originalhandschrift mit einem Vorwart herausgegeben von Peter Wollny.
It acquired that name to distinguish it from the earlier Little Fugue in G minor, which is shorter. This piece is not to be confused with the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, which is also for organ and also sometimes called "the Great. Inventions and Sinfonias The Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV —, also known as the Two and Three Part Inventions, are a collection of thirty short keyboard compositions composed by Johann Sebastian Bach , consisting of fifteen inventions two-part contrapuntal pieces and fifteen sinfonias three-part contrapuntal pieces.
They were originally written by Bach as exercises for the musical education of his students. Bach titled the collection: "Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard — especially, however, those desirous of learning — are shown a clear way not only 1 to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, 2 to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions ideas but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition.
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The Italian Concerto has become popular among Bach's keyboard works, and has been widely recorded both on the harpsichord and the piano. Movements: 1. Without tempo indication 2. Andante 3. Presto The Italian Concerto's two lively F major outer movements, in ritornello style, frame a florid arioso-style movement in D minor, the relative minor.
Though a concerto relies upon the contrasting roles of different groups of instruments in an ensemble, Bach imitates this effect by creating contrasts using the forte and piano manuals of a two-manual harpsichord throughout the piece. In fact, along with the Overture in the French style and some of the Goldberg Variations, this is one of the few works by Bach which specifically require a 2-manual harpsichord.
The full title of the work is Motet No. A seventh has only recently been subjected to some scholarly doubt as to its authorship. The 5th voice of the chorus is a second soprano part of harmonic richness, adding considerably to the tonal palette of the work as a whole. The German text is by Johann Franck, and dates from c. The words of the movement nos.
The scriptures here speak of Jesus Christ freeing man from sin and death. The chorale text is from the believer's point of view and praises the gifts of Jesus Christ as well as longing for his comforting spirit. It also abounds with stark contrasts between images of heaven and hell, often within a single section. Bach's vivid setting of the words heightens these dramatic contrasts resulting in a motet with an uncommonly wide dramatic range.
Movements 1. Jesu, meine Freude 1. Es ist nun nichts Verdammliches based on Ro 8,1 and 8,4 3. Unter deinem Schirmen 2. Trotz dem alten Drachen 3. So nun der Geist based on Ro 8,11 Weicht, ihr Trauergeister 6. Chorale setting. Five-part dramatic chorus, florid variations on the chorale, in the manner of an instrumental ripieno.
Chorale, with flourishes 4. Setting in the manner of a trio sonata soprano, soprano, alto.
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Five-part double fugue 7. Chorale, with florid variations. Setting in the manner of a trio sonata alto, tenor, bass 9. Chorale prelude soprano, soprano, alto, tenor. The melody is in the alto. Chorale setting repeats 1 with different text An analysis would reveal a balanced musical symmetry around the 6th movement double fugue, with both and containing a chorale, a trio and a quasi-aria movement, and the work beginning and ending with the identical.
This can be expressed as a diagram: Chorale Setting of Scripture. Johann Sebastian began compiling the collection in Most of the pieces included are better known as parts of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Inventions and Sinfonias. The authorship of most other works is debated: particularly the famous Little Preludes BWV — are sometimes attributed to Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Contents The book begins with a preface that contains an explanation of clefs and a guide to playing ornaments. The pieces of the collection are arranged by complexity, beginning with the most simple works.
Possibly composed by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Possibly fingering marks are clearly visible. Probably not by Johann Sebastian Bach. This piece was also included in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach.
Much information including list of manuscripts, etc. Works mostly PD-CA at present if that? A bio gives his death year as , as does Wikipedia German. No posting without written permission from the copyright owner. Married sculptor Henry Arnold in Sorry, have no better estimate of dates, am breaking own rules here Listing of works see: Forums thread. Under copyright worldwide. Works first published after are copyright in Canada. Those first published after are possibly copyright in the USA.
One of two composers by that name.