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Re: GG: Die Kunst der Fuge (slight return)

    cathedral being built or the paintings of M.C. Escher (upstairs/downstairs).

If you haven't run across Douglas Hofstadter's book Godel, Escher, Bach,
you might enjoy it :).

    On what is the assumption of musiciologists that KdF is a theory/study
    piece based on?

Well, it is one, ipso facto.  I mean, simply from the fact that all the
pieces are based on the same theme, and JSB's writings about the work,
and the fact that it was published in open score, it is clearly a large
(the largest ever?) scale "exercise" in fugue writing, susceptible to
infinite study.

That doesn't mean it wasn't meant to be performed.  Of course in JSB's
time there was no opportunity for public performances of a single
keyboard work lasting an hour and a half, and I don't recall hearing of
KdF ever being performed even in part in public during his lifetime, but
in private?  Certainly.

    Bach died before finishing the circle

Actually, there is rather compelling evidence that he did finish the
last fugue, but the completion has been lost (personally, I'm almost
glad of this).  I highly recommend Christoph Wolff's books (Bach: the
learned musician, and Bach: Essays on his life and music) for the

    and there are no specific instructions for tempo, volume or choice
    of instrument.

As Wolff argues, it would have been astonishing if the work had *not*
been published in open score, by the conventions of the time.  However,
there are pretty convincing arguments (mostly advanced by Gustav
Leonhardt originally, as far as I know) that it was meant to be played
on harpsichord (with a pedal, in the case of that one note in cp.13. :)

It is as legitimate to arrange KdF for cowbell as anything else (GG's
arguments about sonority vs. structure, etec.), but not *more* legitimate.
Open score notwithstanding.

    I need a reference recording to compare it with GG's recording (no
    cowbells or saxophones please). If I am correct then there are about
    80 to choose from. Any suggestions ?

The Canadian Brass recording is actually interesting (and GG wrote about
it), but I find it wearying to listen to the whole thing.  Outside of
keyboards, I also liked the Juilliard String Quartet and Musica Antiqua
Koln recordings.

My favorite piano recordings overall are Eugene Koroliov's and Vladimir
Feltsman's.  Because, well, they were the most GG-like to me.  I also
very much like Charles Rosen's, he has a different attitude.  I have
Leonhardt's recording on harpsichord, but it doesn't especially appeal
to me.

When I was choosing what to buy, I usually listened to the first few
measures of the first fugue in a sample, and could easily tell if I was
interested in this person's rendition or not :).

Happy listening (and reading) ...