J. S. Bach's Art of Fugue
The 14-piece La Follia string ensemble performs perhaps the greatest work in Western music.
This last large work by J. S. Bach has long been acknowledged for its monumental conception and flawless execution. But what La Follia will demonstrate in this performance is its overwhelming emotional impact.
In the last decade of his life, Bach undertook the composition of 18 studies based on a single theme, which he collectively titled Die Kunst der Fuge, or The Art of Fugue. Fourteen of these studies are so-called fugues, a compositional form employing imitative entrances of the theme under strict rules. Bach was (and still is) the undisputed master of fugal composition.
However, the permutations of this theme that Bach conceived stretched even his mighty powers to the limit. The theme is turned upside down. It is played at the same time as the main theme. It is played with shorter and longer note durations simultaneously, and much more. The final fugue (apparently left unfinished at his death) combines three other themes with the main theme, one of those themes being a spelling of his name. Several composers have humbly attempted completions of this fugue, and La Follia will perform one of the most famous.
Indeed, The Art of Fugue is a triumph of musical intellect. But what is often neglected in the performance of this work is that it, like all music by Bach, possesses a deep spirituality that transcends all the compositional tricks.
Bach believed that his Art was a gift from God that permitted a glimpse into His Divinity. We believe you will discover that in The Art of Fugue. It exists in a universe quite apart, and more wondrous, than our own.