News · New CD release, ‘Bach Art of Fugue’

Friday 23 September 2016

Fresh from her Gramophone Award win for Biber Rosary Sonatas, Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque today release their latest disc for Channel Classics, Bach Art of Fugue. “A new recording from violinist Rachel Podger is always worth attention.” (David Vernier, Classics Today).

The Art of Fugue, written in the last decade of J.S. Bach’s life, is the culmination of his experimentation with monothematic instrumental works and is comprised of 14 fugues and 4 canons, each based on a single subject.

John Butt writes: “Questions about the implied instrumentation are never going to be answered definitively … the work implies a sort of cyclic time, experienced from the point of view of eternity - in other words, the sort of time that we might imagine God experiences, superior to the messy narrative of human linear time … This residue of human habitation is perhaps what distinguishes Bach’s fugal works from the fugal (or ‘ricercar’) tradition of previous composers and in which later composers heard a voice speaking directly to them, a voice that shared at least some aspects of the modern world, even if it was entirely suffused with the sense of an overwhelming and all-embracing godly order.”

Rachel Podger describes the fugues as “a jigsaw puzzle”. It’s something she can’t explain except that “when you’re playing these fugues it’s one of those things where you kind of forget that you’re playing an instrument.”

“Rachel Podger and her colleagues deliver wonderfully expressive performances of each of the eighteen fugues and canons that make up Bach’s astonishing work with a technical finesse that is beyond reproach. The varied combinations of string instruments used here add spice and variety to each of the pieces.” Graham Williams (HRAudio)

To purchase a copy of Bach Art of Fugue please visit Channel Classics.