I‘ve been away from the concert hall for some time due to the very hot weather in Spain and various other things. It‘s good to be back.
This is my 500th upload, so I tried to find something special to celebrate. „Die Kunst der Fuge“ sprang to mind.
For lots of info about the work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_Fugue
A handwritten manuscript of the piece known as the Unfinished Fugue is among the three bundled with the autograph manuscript P200. It breaks off abruptly in the middle of its third section, with an only partially written measure 239. This autograph carries a note in the handwriting of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, stating "Über dieser Fuge, wo der Name B A C H im Contrasubject angebracht worden, ist der Verfasser gestorben." ("At the point where the composer introduces the name BACH [for which the English notation would be B♭–A–C–B♮] in the countersubject to this fugue, the composer died.")
This account is disputed by modern scholars, as the manuscript is clearly written in Bach's own hand, and thus dates to a time before his deteriorating health and vision would have prevented his ability to write, probably 1748–1749.
A number of musicians and musicologists have composed conjectural completions of Contrapunctus XIV.
I chose the completion by Helmut Walcha because (imho) he did it the right way: ending it as much in Bach’s style as he could without trying to use all tricks possible like some others.
Walcha spend a great part of his life playing, recording and teaching Bach’s works. He was an authority and I feel that in this completion his love and reverence for Bach is audible.
The recording consists of two parts:
The first part closes with the unfinished last bars Bach wrote.
Then there is an approx. ten second pause in the recording.
At 10.42 the fugue starts again at bar 233, as that’s where the last countersubject is presented.
Walcha’s completion starts at bar 239.
Some pics are included.