Johann Sebastian Bach
Art of the Fugue & Musical Offering
BACH 760&761 – a Double CD set

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Disc 1- BACH 760

Die Kunst der Fuge - Art of the Fugue BWV 1080

1.   Contrapunctus 1
2.   Contrapunctus 2
3.   Contrapunctus 3
4.   Contrapunctus 4
5.   Contrapunctus 5
6.   Contrapunctus 6, a 4 im Stile francese
7.   Contrapunctus 7, a 4 per Augmentationem
      et Diminutionem
8.   Contrapunctus 8, a 3
9.   Contrapunctus 9, a 4, all Duodecima
10. Contrapunctus 10, a 4, alla Decima
11. Contrapunctus 11, a 4
12. Contrapunctus 12, a 4 (rectus)
13. Contrapunctus 12, a 4 (inversus)
14. Contrapunctus 13, a 3 (rectus)
15. Contrapunctus 13, a 3 (inversus)
16. Contrapunctus 14, a 4

Total Time: 76:27


Isolde Ahlgrimm, pedal harpsichord (Gebr. Ammer, 1937)

Ludwig von Pfersmann, flute (J. M. Bόrger, 1840)
Rudolf Baumgartner, violin (Gerolamo Amati, 1701)
Alice Harnoncourt, violin & viola (Amati school)
Kurt Theiner, viola and tenor violin (Antonio Amati, 1595)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, cello (Francesco Ruggeri, 1680)
All instruments from collection Fiala-Ahlgrimm, Vienna.

Disc 2 - BACH 761

Art of the Fugue continued

1. Canon per Augmentationem in contrario motu
2. Canon alla Ottava
3. Canon alla Decima, Contrapuncto alla Terza
4. Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapuncto alla Quinta
5. Fuga a 3 Soggetti (incomplete)

Musikalisches Opfer - Musical Offering BWV 1079

6. Trio Sonata for flute, violin, cello & harpsichord
   Largo – Allegro – Andante – Allegro

7. Three-part Ricercare – pedal-harpsichord

8. Five Canons on the Royal Theme
   Canon a 2 super Thema Regium
   Canon a 2 Per motum contrarium – in contrary motion
   Canon perpetuus super Thema Regium
   Canon a due Violini in unisono
   Fuga Canonica in Epidiapente

9. Five Canons on variations of the Royal Theme
   Canon a 2 Per Tonos
   Canon a 2 Per augmentationem, contrario motu
   Canon Perpetuus – for flute, violin & continuo
   Canon a 2 "Quaerendo invenietis"
   Canon a 4

10. Six-part Ricercare – pedal-harpsichord

Total Time: 79:14

Isolde Ahlgrimm was born in Vienna at the beginning of World War I, July 31st, 1914. Initially taught by her mother, Camilla, a good professional pianist, Isolde Ahlgrimm had been recognised from an early age as a genuine prodigy, a virtuoso pianist for whom a brilliant future was predicted. At the age of seven she entered the Vienna Music Academy and obtained her diploma in 1932, having studied with Vienna's most prominent teachers, including Emil von Sauer, a favourite pupil of Franz Liszt. She quickly adopted baroque music, and the harpsichord, as her specialty, adding an organ-type pedalboard, not only for organ practice, but to achieve many of the longer handspans demanded by Bach, and to add bass emphasis whenever the music so demanded.

Borrowing the title from a series of keyboard pieces by CPE Bach, Concerte für Kenner und Liebhaber, Isolde instituted a series of concerts on the fortepiano, an instrument which at that time had fallen into neglect. The Wiener Neueste Nachrichten, February 26, 1937, reported: "The first concert for connoisseurs and amateurs must be emphasised to be something entirely special. It succeeded in moving to enthusiasm the discerning Viennese musical public. Isolde Ahlgrimm, who has already achieved notable success on the modern piano, brought to the hammerklavier great ability and fine musicianship. Her technique, personality and appearance are as though made for this instrument." Her influence was to have a long-lasting effect: Peter Watchorn, Isolde Ahlgrimm's last student and biographer, was told recently by Paul Badura Skoda that it was his and Jorg Demus' attendance at one of Isolde's Mozart Cycle concerts in 1949 that convinced them to take up the fortepiano.

She then moved on to institute a series of concert-lectures featuring the harpsichord, playing always from memory. The photo on the right above, and below, was taken during a lecture-recital of the Art of the Fugue in 1952. See her detailed notes on keyboard performance of the Art of the Fugue.

Isolde Ahlgrimm, pedal harpsichord recital

Peter Watchorn has written a fascinating article about his experiences, Ms Ahlgrimm's teaching methods and performance style, and much about her life in Vienna. Check:
Isolde Ahlgrimm: Harpsichordist, mentor and friend.

NOW AVAILABLE:
"Isolde Ahlgrimm, Vienna & the Early Music Revival"
by Peter Watchorn
c.260pp, 32 photographs (most never published).
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. London
Click for synopsis and order information.

The Baroque Music Pedal-harpsichord Collection.
Click the images for full details and more music samples.

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