Tonight in group class, the Performance Ensemble got to spend some time working on a fugue – a particular musical form in which a theme is stated in one voice and then restated in other voices, inverted (played upside down), performed in retrograde (backwards), and given any number of other treatments. To better understand this, we listened to a bit of The Art of the Fugue, by J.S. Bach.
The Art of the Fugue is one of the very highest examples of musical genius and compositional mastery in all of the classical repertoire, and as such is something every aspiring musician should experience. I’ve provided two recordings here – one which follows the musical score, and highlights the theme as it’s stated and restated throughout the piece; and the other of the legendary Glenn Gould performing the piece, which is nothing less than a wonder to behold.