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Bach J. S. , Art of the Fugue,

' : 0122

"Die Kunst der Fuge" is a harpsichord work consisting of 14 fugues placed in order of increasing complexity; four canons built on the same motto theme as the 14 fugues, and similarly placed in order of increasing complexity, form a sort of coda to the whole. This structure is restored in the present edition. Performers may wish to note that in Bachs autograph Ms fugues 1 and 3 are juxtaposed, as are fugues 8 and 11.

The idea for such a work may have been slowly germinating all Bachs life, ever since 1705 when he went to Lbeck, in order to comprehend one thing and another about his art as he himself put it (Protokoll des Konsistoriums, Arnstadt, 21. 2. 1706); the mirror fugues, at least, are strikingly comparable to Buxtehudes two four-part movements in d minor (each entitled Contrapunctus and each with a mirror-like evolutio), published in his "Fried und freudenreiche Hinfarth" (1674).

"Die Kunst der Fuge" was prepared for the engraver (Johann Heinrich Schbler, younger brother of Johann Georg Schbler who had engraved the six Schbler organ chorales) during the last year or so of Bachs life; it was published early in 1751, about twelve months after the composers death and reissued in 1752.

Contrapunctus I-XIV
Canons in Hypodiapason, alla Decima, alla Duodecima, in Hypodiatessaron BWV 1080
Appendix: Contrapunctus XIII in the version for two Harpsichords BWV 1080