Organ Fugue BWV 538 for String Quartet - Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach Organ Fugue BWV 538 for String Quartet (Score/Parts)
arr. by Gareth Clemson
906643, 9790579983248
Groothandel NL
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Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750
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Spartan Press Strijkkwartet
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Organ Fugue BWV 538 for String Quartet - Johann Sebastian Bach

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Whilst idly perusing a volume of Bach's organ music, I chanced upon this fugue. Interesting, I thought; possible material for a transcription for my quartet friends, who enjoy playing 'The Art of Fugue' in its quartet version. On closer inspection, the work reveals itself to be a double fugue, intricately woven yet melodious, almost song-like. Music which is compelling - Bach at his best. Of course, in making this transcription, it would have been easy to set the voices out as in the original, making changes only with regard to the range of the four string instruments. How predictable and utterly dull that would have been. Instead, I have reinterpreted the original, utilising the individual voices of the string quartet as members of a musical dialogue. For tone colour variety, occasionally the lower instruments play above the upper, such inversions showing Bach's contrapuntal skill which still works the 'wrong' way round. Variety of a different kind occurs as the work proceeds, where the main fugue subject, plain at first, is varied on later repetitions. Off string spiccato is mixed with on the string martelé at the point and pizzicato, all perfectly normal for quartet playing, yet possibly frowned on by Bach purists. Expressive hairpins and accents, rare in Bach's time, abound. Finally, I have chosen to describe this piece as a double fugue. Some may disagree as the quaver figure of the Counter Subject also pervades the work. Could it therefore be a triple fugue? Let others decide. Meanwhile, enjoy the music, which speaks for itself. For The Performers: It is important to observe all markings exactly for the best musical effect. Otherwise, great music though it is, because of its length, it could degenerate into a dull performance. The theme markings, shown in small boxes, printed in gray, are aimed at helping each player to 'talk' to each other. SI = Subject - SII = Subject II. - CS = Counter Subject - Stretto = Where the voices come in close together and overlap.

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