The Art of Fugue (c. 1740 - 1750)
Arranged by Phoenix and Maria Finkelmeier (Contrapunctus Fuga a 3 Soggetti)
About the Music
Arguably one of the most legendary composers, Johann Sebastian Bach acquired his fame during his lifetime due to his technical mastery as a keyboard virtuoso. As a composer, Bach developed a musical language so distinctive and immensely varied that it earned him his uniquely prestigious stature in music history. Bach began working on his masterpiece The Art of Fugue around 1740; however, the exact date cannot be quite certain since the original manuscript is lost. He spent the last 10 years of his life working on The Art of Fugue, which eventually comprised 14 fugues and four canons when it was posthumously published—thanks to his sons—in spring 1751. At the end of his life Bach suffered from severe trouble with his eyes that eventually led to total blindness, and unfortunately Bach was not able to complete The Art of Fugue. To this day the final movement, a quadruple fugue, remains unfinished. Tonight, you will hear five different selections from “The Art of Fugue” arranged for different groups of Phoenix musicians: Contrapunctus I, III, VII, a Canon, and Contrapunctus Fuga a 3 Soggetti. The final selection was arranged by our featured performer, percussionist Maria Finkelmeier. As a whole Bach conceived the work based off one theme (monothematic) that he manipulated in a variety of ways in order to produce one of the most important contributions to the Baroque era.