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Bach: The Art of Fugue Double CD

2 customer reviews

Price: £25.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZS9
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,249 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Ricercare a 3
2. Ricercare a 6
3. Duet No. 1 in E Minor - Tatjana Nikolajewa
4. Duet No. 2 in F Major
5. Duet No. 3 in G Major
6. Duet No. 4 in a Minor
7. Contrapunctus 1
8. Contrapunctus 2
9. Contrapunctus 3
10. Contrapunctus 4
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Contrapunctus 8
2. Contrapunctus 9 Alla Duodecima
3. Contrapunctus 10 Alla Decima
4. Contrapunctus 11
5. Canon (In Hypodiatessaron) Per Augmentationem in Contario Motu
6. Canon Alla Decima (Contrapunti Alla Terza)
7. Contrapunctus 13 (Rectus)
8. Contrapunctus 13 (Inversus)
9. Contrapunctus 12 (Rectus)
10. Contrapunctus 12 (Inversus)
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Description

L'Art de la Fugue, BWV 1080 - L'Offrande Musicale (Ricercare), BWV 1079 - Duettos, BWV 802 à BWV 805 / Tatiana Nikolayeva, piano

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Fraxinus excelsior TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 April 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had to listen to The Art of Fugue many times to get my head around it and fully appreciate. It is not Bach's most approachable pieces to a casual listener and non-musician such as myself. However, after several playings and, once I had began know each of the pieces, Bach's magic became apparent - as it always does. I have two copies of the Art of Fugue, the second being Charles Rosen on this album. Of the two, I think I prefer Nikolayeva.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a nice guy on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This recording combines ultra-intelligent scholarship with playing that is highly sensitive and crystal-clear.

It was Hyperion's recent Bach series (performed by Angela Hewitt) that converted me to being a lover of Bach's keyboard music. The piece on this recording - one of THE great keyboard works by Bach - is a summation of his experience as a composer and performer and Tatiana Nikolaieva brings it to life beautifully. I enjoy listening to the recording and it has also given me a renewed respect for Bach as a composer. It is a piece that, once heard, won't leave you; it will affect the way you listen to all of Bach's fugues, I suspect!

The music itself is never boring and I don't know why it is not performed more often. Perhaps the reason is that it is just too much of a mystery - we don't know which instrument or combination of instruments it was written for and, to make it even more mysterious(!) just as Bach got to the 'big end,' he died.

Did he intend to finish it? Who knows.

A magnificent performance by a magnificent lady.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Best of the best 8 May 2005
By Lily's pet human - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I own about a dozen performances of The Art of Fugue (ranging from solo piano and organ over string quartet to Hermann Scherchen's orchestral arrangement). This is hands down my favorite (Scherchen's a distant second). Glenn Gould's might have been equally good if he had ever recorded the whole set for piano. (He recorded a partial set for organ, and piano recordings of a few individual fugues were released posthumously.)

While Bach never specified instruments for TAoF, the voice leading is too keyboard-friendly to be coincidental. It is not a "flashy" work but --- despite that --- extremely demanding on a keyboard player in that exceptional articulation skills are required to clearly bring out the four voices.

The purist may be annoyed at the fact that a piano (rather than a harpsichord) is used at all, and that (obviously) modern A=440 tuning is used. If you are one of these, you may wish to consider Davitt Moroney's harpsichord recording instead.

Unlike Moroney and organist Helmut Walcha, Ms. Nikolayeva does not attempt to "complete" the final unfinished fugue: her playing tapers off on the last notes in the manuscript.

The playing is not only crisp and technically perfect but beautiful at all times, and the recording very clean.

Bonuses are the four Duets (which work surprisingly well on the piano) and the two Ricercars from The Musical Offering. (The Ricercar a 3, incredibly, is actually rooted in an improvisation session by Bach on an early Silbermann fortepiano at the palace of Frederick II in Potsdam.)
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Exactly What I Expected 19 Jun. 2001
By Snow Leopard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Supposedly at an International Bach Competition (which Shostakovich was adjudicating and from which he would return to the Soviet Union, inspired by Nikolayeva to write his monumental 24 Preludes & Fugues for her), the final phase of the competition consisted of playing one of the fugues from the Art of the Fugue. When the panel asked Nikolayeva which one she intended to play, she responded, "Which would you like?" Needless to say, she won.
Those who have never heard Nikolayeva's interpretations of Bach, even those who believe that Gould is the end-all be-all of all piano Bach, are truly missing an amazing thing. And I say this as an intense appreciator of Gould; I will take Nikolayeva over him on almost every score. (If you have the good luck to find her recordings of the Inventions and Sinfonias, start your comparisons to all others there). But here, with the Art of the Fugue, you have Nikolayeva revisiting a work with which she is mind-bogglingly in tune with. Her performances, and her overall approach to this most monumental epic of fugal composition, is exactly what I expected: sheer bliss.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Elegant, magisterial 5 Feb. 2004
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I had the same initial reaction to this CD as I did to the recording by the same artist of the Shostakovich prelude and fugues. On the former I was put off by the idea of fugues from the Russian school. In this case, it was the idea of hearing the works on the piano. But Nikolayeva so completely won me over on the Shostakovich that I took the plunge.
As other reviewers have noted, the crystal clarity of the notes, the phrasing and inner melodies, the structural soundness - all are perfect. In fact, The Art of the Fugue should be heard from several different media - organ, orchestral, piano, string quartet. POwerful work and a great job.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Superb playing of sublime music 12 May 2004
By Cheese Messiah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tatiana Nikolayeva produces a beauty of piano tone unmatched by any living pianist I've yet to hear. This serves her well on the two ricecars from the musical offering which open this cd. Exquisite phrasing and an understanding of Bach's idiom bring these works to life. She is perhaps less sucessful in the relatively uniportant four duets, the strangeness of which has baffled many players. But the art of fugue receives the best perfoemance I've ever heard on the piano, or any other keyboard instrument. It is quite magesterial, and reaches it climax, in my opinion, in the mirror fugue (nos 12a & b). This staggering piece is often viewed as a mere intellectual trick on the part of the composer and played accordingly, Nikolayeva gives the music an otherworldly quality (the only comparable instance of this that I know, is Scherchen's orchestral performance. By constrast, the great unfinished fugue which follows is the onlt disappointment: deathly slow, and for a (fortunately) short time, played with a misplaced staccato. The death-bed associations of this have tempted many a pianist into spurious piety and Nikolayeva is sadly no exception. It's a pity but is only a slight mar on what is otherwise a flawless performance. Very strongly recomended.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely stunning 29 Nov. 2005
By panfr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is far and out the greatest interpretation ever (on piano) of this monumental work - absolutely perfect, under any aspect. If you are a classical music fan it would be a crime to give it a miss.
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