Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Atkinson's YouTube channel: analysis of a Bach fugue

I found a YouTube channel, by Richard Atkinson, with a lot of unusual comparative analyses from classical music.

Today I’ll start out by presenting a simple one, his dissection of a Fugue in C# Minor, a relatively slow and quiet piece, from J.S. Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, but played on the piano.

He explains the fact that there can be several subjects, and illustrates fugue components with differently colored shadings of the score.  He also explains what a stretto is.

This piece has five separate voices and three subjects, making it a triple fugue. The multiple subjects anticipate sonata form developments.
A number of major sonata-like works and symphonies have fugal finales:  Mahler’s Fifth, Bruckner’s Fifth; Stenhammar’s Second Symphony (which is quite formal);  Beethoven’s B-flat Quartet ending in the Grosse Fugue, and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata. The major completions of the finale of Bruckner’s Ninth show the movement to be large fugal – what’s controversial is the composer’s intentions for the massive coda.

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