Watch a Fugue

My introduction to Bach was, maybe sort of oddly, a cassette of the Stokowski Bach transcriptions. Wildly Romantic, lush and thick, the complete antithesis of what most people I know think Bach “should” sound like.

And they absolutely captivated me. The Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor is to this day the piece I go to when I need to quiet my mind down from its customary racing insanity. (It helps to slow it down so it does its insane thing a little more slowly.) And from my very first hearing of that solo oboe statement of the first subject, the G Minor Little Fugue has been one of my favorite pieces of music ever. The transcription made the architecture so clear and easy to follow that it carried me along the whole way and I suspect is at the core of my adult love of counterpoint of any kind. Years later my piano teacher let me play the Samaroff transcription of that fugue in recital (also wildly Romantic, but amazing). I’ve done plenty of more “period” Bach since then, but something about this fugue has never let go of me.

So when a dear friend posted a link to one of these visualized fugues on Youtube, and I poked around until I found the Little in there with several other pieces, imagine my delight when I played it for my daughter and she fell in love with it immediately. We listened to and watched several different pieces, but she just kept going back to the Little Fugue and wanted to watch it again and again…

This idea is brilliant–I can’t wait to teach a music appreciation class sometime so I can use this.

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