Alberto Rasi / Accademia Strumentale Italiana

Die Kunst der Fuga, BWV 1080 (Mus. ms. Bach P 200)

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917284225
Catnr: CC 72842
Release date: 12 June 2020
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917284225
Catalogue number
CC 72842
Release date
12 June 2020

"Overall, the performance is pretty and appealing but finally not especially compelling. The fugue in French style is well done, with the organ supplying an effective continuo and the strings indulging in lovely French-style trills. "

American Record Guide, 01-3-2021
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About the album

Rethinking a masterpiece. The Art of Fugue is both Johann Sebastian Bach’s opus summum and last complete work, presumably undertaken between 1740 and 1742. According to the frontispiece, the work’s original title actually read DIE KUNST DER FUGA, notably featuring the Latin (or Italian) word fuga rather than German Fuge - as found, instead, in the two printed editions of 1751 and 1752. Die Kunst der Fuga (KdF hereafter), in the form and the order presented in the Berlin Autograph, has all the appearance of a finished work featuring 14 fugues and canons, all based upon a single original theme, serving as the work’s foundation and with the individual pieces progressing in an increasing order of difficulty and contrapuntal perfection.
This brief study sets out to attempt a switch in perspective, shifting from the ‘point of view’ of the First Printed Edition – through which the KdF has traditionally been examined by the vast majority of scholars – to that of the Berlin Autograph. Despite having already been studied and collated with the 1751 and 1752 editions, the autograph has always been viewed by the dominant ideology as incomplete; little more than a preparatory stage for its printed counterparts. Only in recent times have scholars (amongst whom Christoph Wolff) started to note that the KdF as found in the autograph manuscript at the time of its completion might well stand comparison with the alleged ‘final version’ of the printed editions, and thus may be elevated to the full dignity of an Alte Fassung. And this study would argue that the Berlin Autograph contains, in fact, the latest and ‘closest-to-final’ version of the KdF, whilst the First Printed Edition is entirely the result of the conjoint efforts of Bach’s children and students as there is no proof that Bach was ever involved in preparatory works concerning any other of its pieces. Furthermore, the order displayed in the Berlin Autograph appears decidedly more logical and “artistic” than that of the First Printed Edition – which, by comparison, appears less interesting (tending towards pedantic) and not without compilation errors.
Far from being a merely speculative or theoretical work, Die Kunst der Fuga is a work for manualiter keyboard. But true to the spirit of an era of musica prattica, performing polyphonic keyboard repertoire with instrumental ensembles aligns with a consolidated tradition that finds it roots in an amply documented practice dating all the way back to the 16th century. The viol consort had been the “instrument” par excellence since the 16th century for its ability to render transparent even the most complex of polyphonies, and it had only just left the scene to the modern virtuoso baroque orchestra. And our choice of combining the violin (a da braccio instrument) with the members of the da gamba family falls perfectly within the German musical tradition.
Het ervaren en internationaal erkende Italiaanse ensemble Accademia Strumentale Italiana heeft een geheel nieuwe weergave van Die Kunst der Fuga opgenomen, een meesterwerk van Johann Sebastian Bach. De uitvoering van de muziek is gebaseerd op recent musicologisch onderzoek - met als enige en unieke bron Bachs manuscript - en toont een ingrijpende innovatieve benadering. De keuze van de instrumenten past perfect bij de historische uitvoeringspraktijk, wat zorgt voor een wonderschone luisterervaring.

Je waant je in vervlogen tijden met deze zo mooi uitgevoerde fuga's van Bach. Het meesterwerk Die Kunst der Fuga is zowel Bachs opus summum, als zijn laatste complete werk, waarschijnlijk gemaakt tussen 1740 en 1742. Die Kunst der Fuga is de oorspronkelijke titel van het werk, met de nadruk op het Latijnse (of Italiaanse) woord Fuga in plaats van het Duitse Fuge - zoals te lezen in de twee gedrukte edities van 1751 en 1752. Deze laatste versies worden toegeschreven aan gezamenlijke inspanningen van Bachs kinderen en studenten. Vorm en arrangement van het oorspronkelijke manuscript Die Kunst der Fuga wijzen volgens recent onderzoek uit, dat het hier om een afgewerkt werk gaat, met 14 fuga's en canons, allemaal gebaseerd op één origineel thema. Ze vormen de basis van het werk, waarin de afzonderlijke stukken een steeds hogere moeilijkheidsgraad en een toenemende contrapuntische perfectie vertonen.

Het ensemble Accademia Strumentale weerspiegelt de magie van een verloren klank in Bachs meesterwerk. De uitvoering op 16e-eeuwse strijkinstrumenten - uit de 'viol familie' - is trouw aan de geest van de renaissance en barok traditie. De combinatie van viool en de viol familie lijkt verbluffend veel op de klank van het orgel, waar Die Kunst der Fuga oorspronkelijk voor geschreven is. Het Viol-consort is het 'instrument' bij uitstek vanwege zijn vermogen om zelfs de meest complexe polyfonieën transparant te maken.

De Accademia Strumentale Italiana werd opgericht in Verona met als specifiek doel de sferen op te roepen van de oude en illustere Italiaanse academies, daar waar het plezier van elkaar ontmoeten een speciaal tintje gaf aan het samen muziek maken. Het repertoire van het ensemble omvat instrumentale en vocale muziek, variërend van de renaissance tot de barok. Muziek die uitgevoerd wordt conform strikt filologische canons, zonder afbreuk te doen aan het vermogen om te communiceren met het heden. De musici van de Accademia zijn ervan overtuigd dat, zelfs als de partituur oud is, muziek altijd tijdloos is.
Ein Meisterwerk neu durchdacht: Die Kunst der Fuge ist sowohl Johann Sebastian Bachs Opus summum als auch sein letztes vollständiges Werk, vermutlich entstanden zwischen 1740 und 1742. Dem Frontispiz zufolge war der Originaltitel eigentlich DIE KUNST DER FUGA, mit dem lateinischen (oder italienischen) Wort „fuga“ anstelle des deutschen „Fuge“, das man in den beiden Druckfassungen von 1751 und 1752 findet. Die Kunst der Fuga, in der Form und Anordnung der Berliner Urschrift, sieht aus wie ein fertiges Werk: 14 Fugen und Kanons, alle basiert auf einem einzigen, originalen Thema, bilden den Grundstein des Werkes, in dem die individuellen Stücke in ihrer Folge von immer größerem Anspruch und zunehmender kontrapunktischer Perfektion sind.
Was diese kurze Studie zu erreichen sucht ist ein Perspektivwechsel vom „Standpunkt“ der ersten gedruckten Fassung – in der die Kunst der Fuga traditionell von der Mehrheit der Forscher analysiert wurde – hin zu dem des Berliner Autographen. Wenngleich dieses Autograph bereits studiert und mit den Fassungen aus 1751 und 1752 verglichen worden ist, wurde das Autograph von der dominanten Ideenlehre als unvollständig betrachtet, als wenig mehr als eine vorbereitende Phase für die Druckfassungen. Forscher (unter ihnen Christoph Wolff) haben erst vor Kurzem begonnen zur Kenntnis zu nehmen, dass die Kunst der Fuga, wie man sie im ursprünglichen Manuskript findet, zur Zeit ihrer Vollendung sehr wohl dem Vergleich mit der vermeintlich „finalen Fassung“ der gedruckten Editionen standhalten und somit die volle Würde einer „alten Fassung“ verliehen bekommen kann. Diese Studie argumentiert ebenfalls, dass das Berliner Autograph eigentlich die letzte und „endgültigste“ Fassung der Kunst der Fuga beinhaltet, während die gesamte erste Druckfassung vielmehr das Ergebnis gemeinsamer Bestrebungen von Bachs Kindern und Schülern ist, da es keine Nachweise gibt, dass Bach selbst an vorbereitenden Werken anderer Kompositionen beteiligt war. Zudem erscheint die Anordnung der einzelnen Fugen des Berliner Autographs dezidiert logischer und „künstlerischer“ als die der ersten Druckfassung – die im Vergleich weniger interessant (im Gegenteil eher zum Pedantischen zu tendieren) scheint und in der Zusammenstellung nicht fehlerlos ist.
Keineswegs eine nur spekulative oder theoretische Komposition, ist Die Kunst der Fuga ein Werk für Tasteninstrumente manualiter. Doch ganz im Geiste einer Ära der musica prattica richtet sich eine Interpretation polyphoner Tastenmusik mit Instrumentalensembles an einer gemeinsamen Tradition aus, die ihre Wurzeln in wohldokumentierter Praxis aus dem 16. Jahrhundert hat. Das Gambenconsort war seit dem 16. Jahrhundert das „Instrument“ par excellence wegen seiner Fähigkeit, selbst die komplexesten Polyphonien transparent umzusetzen, und es war eben erst dem modernen virtuosen Barockorchester gewichen. Und unsere Wahl, die Violine (ein da braccio-Instrument) mit den Mitgliedern der Gambenfamilie zu kombinieren, fällt genau in die deutsche Musiktradition.

Artist(s)

The Accademia Strumentale Italiana was founded in Verona with the specific purpose of recreating the atmospheres of those ancient and illustriuos academies, where the pleasure of meeting one another gave a special flavour to making music together. Its repertoire encompasses instrumental and vocal music ranging from the Renaissance to the Baroque, performed according to strict philological canons, but without compromising its ability to comunicate with the present: its musicians are convinced that even if the score is ancient, Music is always timeless.

The Accademia has performed extensively in Europe and has been invited to several international festivals where it has always met with widespread critical acclaim. The members of the Accademia are all renowned specialists in HIP and work together with some of the most famous European ensembles.

Since 1993 the Accademia has recorded mainly for Stradivarius and DIVOX, collecting prizes and awards from the specialized press (Midem Classical Award 2007 with the CD Dolcissimo Sospiro). With the recording of Die Kunst der Fuga started a collaboration with the Dutch label Challenge Records.

Alberto Rasi, veronese, after his studies in Double Bass and Composition, studied Viola da Gamba and Violone at the Schola Cantorum Basel with Jordi Savall, and at the Conservatoire de Génève with Ariane Maurette.

Since 1978, taking advantage of his training as a Double Bass player, he began playing both the viola da gamba and violone, giving concerts and recordings with the most renowned groups.

In 1981 he co-founded Accademia Strumentale Italiana with the harpischordist Patrizia Marisaldi.

As soloist and with this ensemble he has given concerts throughout Europe and beyond. In 1992 he became Artistic Director of this group and he has recorded several CDs for the Stradivarius label of Milan and various others CD labels winning various prizes including: Diapason d’Or, 10 de Repertoire, Musica 5 Stars, Amadeus and the Midem Classical Award 2007 in the category, Early Music.

He is currently teaching viola da gamba at the Conservatory of Verona.

In 1999 he founded the Baroque Orchestra of Verona, Il Tempio Armonico, which he conducts from the violoncello, and with which he has recorded the complete orchestral music of the veronese Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco.

Composer(s)

Press

Overall, the performance is pretty and appealing but finally not especially compelling. The fugue in French style is well done, with the organ supplying an effective continuo and the strings indulging in lovely French-style trills. 
American Record Guide, 01-3-2021

The truly appreciable result is, on the one hand, remarkably enveloping, on the other less monochrome and more varied in the instrumental colors, more transparent even in the densest and most complex passages.
Amadeus, 01-2-2021

Violin, treble viol, tenor viol, bass viol, violone and organ is the instrumentation chosen by Alberto Rasi for this reading of The art of fugue, which is extraordinarily canonical, without the most minimal concession to the gallery. The strings work fine, but it's Luca Guglielmi's organ which gets the lion's share.
Scherzo, 01-2-2021

"A very severe edition, rich in chiaroscuros, spanning from austere meditative withdrawls, ecstatic surrenders and flowing agogic options" "We don't hesitate to list this account among the most charming and interesting played on intstrumental ensembles"
Musica, 01-10-2020

A very severe edition, rich in chiaroscuros, spanning from austere meditative withdrawls, ecstatic surrenders and flowing agogic options
musica, 17-9-2020

The recording is just as transparent as the interplay. All in all, this is an absolute asset!
Opus Klassiek, 12-9-2020

I am delighted to be able to add my own response to what looks like becoming a favourite when it comes to chamber-music settings of The Art of Fugue.
Music web International, 25-8-2020

Alberto Rasi and his Accademia will also feature in my future listening, presenting the music as it appears in autograph and making a strong case for it.
Music web International, 27-7-2020

Italians play Bach: sleek with a human edge
De Volkskrant, 04-6-2020

This is an extremely professional approach to one of the greatest musical achievements of the human brain. This is the combination of contemplation, reflection and arithmetic insight. This is a beautiful CD that you should not miss!
Stretto, 28-5-2020

Play album
01.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: I. Fuga simplex rectus BWV 1080/1
03:04
02.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: II. Fuga simplex inversus BWV 1080/3
02:57
03.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: III. Fuga plagalis BWV 1080/2
02:48
04.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: IV. Counter-fugue – fuga inversa BWV 1080/5
03:16
05.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: V. Fuga rectus with obbligato countersubjects alla Duodecima BWV 1080/9
02:29
06.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: VI. Fuga inversus with two obbligato countersubjects alla Decima BWV 1080/10
03:47
07.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: VII. Fuga inversa in Stylo Francese BWV 1080/6a
03:34
08.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: VIII. Fuga inversa per Augment. et Diminut. BWV 1080/7
04:37
09.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: IX. Canon in Hypodiapason (Canon alla Ottava) BWV 1080/15
02:48
10.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: X. Fuga a tre Soggetti a? 3 BWV 1080/8
07:15
11.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XI. Fuga a quattro soggetti a? 4 BWV 1080/11
06:38
12.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XII. Canon per Augmentationem in contrario motu BWV 1080/14
06:54
13.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XIIIa. Mirror fugue in contrappunto simplici a? 4 rectus BWV 1080/12,1
02:28
14.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XIIIb. Mirror fugue in contrappunto simplici a? 4 inversus BWV 1080/12,2
02:25
15.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XIVa. Mirror fuga inversa in contrappunto duplici a? 3 rectus BWV 1080/18,2
02:18
16.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: XIVb. Mirror fuga inversa in contrappunto duplici a? 3 inversus BWV 1080/18,1
02:21
17.
Die Kunst der Fuga - BWV 1080: Fuga a 3 Soggetti [unfinished]
08:38
show all tracks

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