CD and Other Review

Review: Bach: The Art of Fugue (Hewitt)

Buy this album on iTunes: Bach: The Art of Fugue – Angela Hewitt Bach’s final work, The Art of Fugue, is a formidable contrapuntal challenge for any musician – it’s essentially the Mount Everest of Baroque intricacy, containing some of his most devilishly complex part-writing. The work, consisting of fourteen fugues and four canons, is written utilising a different permutation of the same theme in each part, so Bach’s single short theme is presented in dozens of different ways. The four-bar theme is heard in augmentation (longer note values), diminution (shorter note values), inverted (upside-down), and in a whole variety of canons. Such an intensely cerebral work will acquire an air of mystery in any case, and the fact that Bach died before he could finish it has only added to its reputation. Perhaps that’s why it has taken renowned Bach pianist Angela Hewitt quite so long to tackle this behemoth; she’s been recording Baroque works on the piano for many years, but she’s only added The Art of Fugue to her repertoire in 2012. It may have taken her a little while, but it’s been well worth waiting for, and I only wish that she had recorded this work…

March 19, 2015