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Gavin Black
George Hazelrigg
Two Harpsichords

Die Kunst der Fuge
The Art of the Fugue
J.S. Bach

Now Available on iTunes

When J. S. Bach died in June of 1750, he left his great final work Die Kunst der Fuge – The Art of the Fugue – incomplete. The most striking manifestation of this is that the last movement of the work breaks off abruptly in the middle of a line. We do not know – there is no way to know – how Bach might have extended and completed it if he had lived. He also left us not knowing his intentions about the order of the movements and, perhaps most interestingly, not knowing on what instrument or combination of instruments he intended the work to be played. In fact we don’t know whether it would have been his intention to pin down a particular mode of performance at all. For this recording, the work is performed on two harpsichords: that is, in each movement the musical lines are shared essentially equally between Gavin Black, playing a two-manual German style harpsichord by Philip Tyre, and George Hazelrigg, playing a two-manual German style harpsichord by Keith Hill. In the four-voice pieces, for example, each player (and thus each instrument) takes two of the voices. The use of two large harpsichords makes available dozens of different sound combinations, and permits the movements of The Art of the Fugue to be brought to life in a colorful and vivid manner.
 
     
 

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Sound Samples
Excerpt from Contrapunctus I
Excerpt from Contrapunctus X
Excerpt from Contrapunctus XI