The WTF Bach Podcast
That‘s a Wrap on The Art of Fugue. (Season one finale 2/2!)

That‘s a Wrap on The Art of Fugue. (Season one finale 2/2!)

December 6, 2021

So! We've done it: Looked in depth at every fugue, every canon, solved the mysteries, busted the myths, sent the Bach heretics back to whence they came. And now? Let's just enjoy... 

Topics covered:

The golden sections in other Bach pieces and how this could help us find the golden section here, even in this fugal fragment. 

'God the Father' 'God the Spirit' 'God the Son' as three themes.

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THE LAST PAGE ! CLICK HERE to see the 'corrupt' staves on which it would have been impossible to complete such a dense fugue. **Note the staff three from the bottom**

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Koopman playing the B-flat minor, book two

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The 14th Fugue in The Art of Fugue. (Season one finale 1/2!)

The 14th Fugue in The Art of Fugue. (Season one finale 1/2!)

November 19, 2021

This is the final fugue of The Art of Fugue, the famous 'unfinished' fugue, number 14. We discuss how one could have understood this fugue to have been unfinished in earlier periods in musical history (it was finished) and what exactly is missing. 

THE LAST PAGE ! CLICK HERE to see the 'corrupt' staves on which it would have been impossible to complete such a dense fugue. **Note the staff three from the bottom**

Topics covered:

B+A+C+H = 14

B-A-C-H as a melody and fugue subject.

Where the missing, 4th theme, comes in this quadruple fugue. 

The final combination of all four themes and its 'note for note' inversion as mentioned in Bach's obituary of 1754.

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Special Guest: Christoph Wolff. What else can we learn about Bach?

Special Guest: Christoph Wolff. What else can we learn about Bach?

October 25, 2021

Guest Interview: Christoph Wolff, Former Head of the Bach Archive in Leipzig. 

I had the privilege of speaking to Christoph Wolff, certainly the most distinguished Bach scholar of the 20th century, even until today. From Jimi Hendrix to Rudolph Serkin, from the music Bach's composed which is lost, to the famous "Seal of 1722", this interview has it all folks. Take a listen!

Browse Mr. Wolff's Books Here:

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People / Topics Covered:

Albert Schweitzer (His Bach biography, Volume 1)

"Bach's Seal"

Bach's Handexemplar of the Goldberg Variations

Caldara's Magnificat 

Other composers Bach performed: Palestrina, Frescobaldi, Froberger, Buxtehude, Handel, Porpura, Pergolesi

Neue Bach Ausgabe

Saint Mark Passion

Bach's Obituary

The Zimmermann Coffee House

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Bonus: Dictated in Blindness on his Deathbed? The Original Printed Conclusion to The Art of Fugue?

Bonus: Dictated in Blindness on his Deathbed? The Original Printed Conclusion to The Art of Fugue?

October 21, 2021

This is the eighth bonus episode.

Was Bach dictating this? Blind? On his deathbed? 

Printed as the original conclusion to The Art of Fugue, "Wenn wir im höchsten Nöten sein" was not meant to be part of the work, but was meant to be compensation for the missing fugue. Even with this piece, there are myths surrounding it. Let's debunk.

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Follow me on instagram: @wtfbach

 

Thank you, THANK YOU, for listening.

-evan

 

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The Fourth Canon in The Art of Fugue: Upside Down, Slowed Down… How Much More Down?

The Fourth Canon in The Art of Fugue: Upside Down, Slowed Down… How Much More Down?

September 30, 2021

Rather than moving on to the final fugue, we have a brief visit to the final canon of the four canons in "The Art of Fugue."

Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu (Canon in augmentation and contrary motion [inversion]). 

This form of this canon is very similar in construction to the previous ones, though rather than increasing the interval of imitation, the following voice appears in inversion and moving twice as slowly! A very complicated procedure.

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Evan is every day on his instagram stories uploading the great works of J.S.B: Watch 

Check out Bach's 'gift canon' here

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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Bonus: The 13th Contrapunctus - in another way (for TWO harpsichords!)

Bonus: The 13th Contrapunctus - in another way (for TWO harpsichords!)

July 26, 2021

This is the seventh bonus episode.

Among the errors in the assembly of the first printing of The Art of Fugue was the inclusion of an arrangement of fugue number 13 for two harpsichords. We look at the music, how it differs from the original 13th counterpoint (for one harpsichord) and how such an error could have been committed. It appears under the title, 'Alio Modo' ...another way. It contains a fourth, newly composed, non-imitative voice. And yes, since fugue 13 is a mirror fugue, Bach made two arrangements with two newly composed voices. 

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Follow me on instagram: I am heavy into posting the solo works for violin and cello on a daily basis: @wtfbach

 

Thank you, THANK YOU, for listening.

-evan

 

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The 13th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: also fugue this mirror a is?

The 13th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: also fugue this mirror a is?

June 21, 2021

Question: If a piece of music is perfect both on its head and also its feet, which one is the inversion?

In the previous fugue, fugue twelve, we saw Bach took four voices, a turned everything upside down: 1234 became 4321 and what went up came crashing down. Now, fugue 13 is again a 'mirror' fugue... or is it?

This thirteenth fugue is in three voices and uses a technique almost identical to it's sister fugue, number 12, but is still more complicated. 

Topics Covered: Which comes first in number 13, the rectus or the inversus? 

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DUE TO PROBLEMS WITH INSTAGRAM (they think Bach's music is 'Branded Content' - yikes. Public domain y'all) I AM MOVING STREAMS TO TWITCH.TV/WTF_BACH PLEASE FOLLOW ME THERE

Find a selected playlist of the music found and discussed in this podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

... have you seen: http://bachchurch.com ???

 

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Special Guest: Chris Thile. Man in the Mirror (Fugue)

Special Guest: Chris Thile. Man in the Mirror (Fugue)

June 2, 2021

This is an interview with mandolinist/composer/singer Chris Thile. Our conversation on May 14, 2021 spanned many diverse topics from how he felt about growing up in a religious community, to his favorite barrel aged spirits. 

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Musicians/Bands mentioned (Alphabetically):

Bach, Beethoven, Bela Fleck, Bill Monroe, Edgar Meyer, Glenn Gould, Mike Marshall, Mozart, Nickle Creek, Radiohead, Richard Green, Russel Sherman, Vivaldi, Yo-Yo Ma

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Music/Books/Booze mentioned:

Russel Sherman, 'Piano Pieces

Saint Anne's Reel: https://thesession.org/tunes/103

What does a mandolin look like?

Tolkien, 'The Lord of the Rings'

Smith & Cross rum

Plymouth Gin

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Check out Chris' new album here: http://smarturl.it/laysongs

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The 12th Fugue in The Art of Fugue|euguF fo trA ehT ni euguF ht21 ehT?

The 12th Fugue in The Art of Fugue|euguF fo trA ehT ni euguF ht21 ehT?

May 18, 2021

Question: If a piece of music is perfect both on its head and also its feet, which one is the inversion?

 

A few important things I neglected to mention in the 11th counterpoint, but where to go after that 11th fugue anyhow? Into the mirror…

Look into *CLICK* the mirror

Bach, not satisfied with creating a triple fugue whose subjects were the same three subjects of the previous triple fugue- inverted- now pens a four-voice fugue where the entire texture will be inverted to create a new composition altogether. It's like writing two fugues at once. This can be done with any piece of music, but only Bach could make such a complicated composition sound like beautiful and convincing music both right-side-up and upside-down.  

 

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Follow Evan on Instagram for even more Bachian content: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

 

Find a selected playlist of the music found and discussed in this podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

... have you seen: http://bachchurch.com ???

 

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The Third Canon in The Art of Fugue: Counterpoint at the fifth? Or just a bunch of parallel fifths?

The Third Canon in The Art of Fugue: Counterpoint at the fifth? Or just a bunch of parallel fifths?

March 15, 2021

Rather than moving on to the twelfth fugue, we have a brief visit to the third of four canons from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach:

Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quina (Canon at the twelfth in counterpoint at the fifth). 

This canon is very similar in construction to the previous canon, though at the larger interval of the 12th. 

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Evan is now mid-49 days of toccatas every day on his instagram stories: Watch 

Check out Bach's 'gift canon' here

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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Bonus: I Uploaded a Bach Album as an NFT

Bonus: I Uploaded a Bach Album as an NFT

March 8, 2021

I don't know if you are already hip to it, or if you're just catching on, but it seems like releasing music as 'NFTs' could be in our futures. I wanted to have the first NFT version of The Art of Fugue. Check the auction out here:

 

https://mintable.app/music/item/JS-Bach-The-Art-of-Fugue--Electronic--The-First-Ever-Bachs-Music-as-NFT--Presented-by-WTF-Bach/f9CWCc0ho7bbad8

The 11th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: A Triple Fugue &… A Possible Anti-Golden-Section?

The 11th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: A Triple Fugue &… A Possible Anti-Golden-Section?

February 19, 2021

The closing of our chapter on compound fugues, contrapunctus eleven, a powerful, complicated, and long fugue. Two expositions of the first theme? One in inversion? And wait, this is a triple fugue where all themes come in inversion and… also not in inversion? Holy B***! 

 

Topics covered:

The original order of the fugues found in P 200 (the autograph score).

The 11th fugue as a possible early finale to The Art of Fugue. 

Glenn Gould’s version of this fugue. 

Could there be an ‘anti-golden section’ in this one?

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Follow Evan on Instagram for even more Bachian content: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

Find a selected playlist of the music found and discussed in this podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

Support us!

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Suggestions? Want Evan to analyze a specific piece of Bach? Have other questions for Evan about music or anything at all? ... p.s. ... have you seen: http://bachchurch.com ???

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The Tenth Fugue at the Tenth: Also… What is a Key?

The Tenth Fugue at the Tenth: Also… What is a Key?

January 26, 2021

Two fugues in original print are essentially the same: these are both this 10th contrapunctus. This fugue is a double fugue with counterpoint at the tenth (alla decima

Topics covered: What does it mean when music is in a 'key' what keys did Bach often write in, and does it mean anything special that The Art of Fugue is in the key of d minor? 

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more Bachian content: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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The 9th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Two Subjects Combined at Two Intervals… Too much?

The 9th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Two Subjects Combined at Two Intervals… Too much?

October 26, 2020

Back to four voices! Bach begins yet again another fugue with a unique theme. The fugue will become a double fugue with our well known ‘Art of Fugue’ theme. The counterpoint then begins to appear in two ways: either on the same note or at different notes which are related to the perfect 5th, or 12th, as the title of this fugue (Alla Duodecima) suggests. Not only is this double counterpoint, but double counterpoint at ...double the intervalic possibilities...?

 

Bach Vision Test (Vulfpeck): https://youtu.be/vJfiOuDdetg

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Find a playlist of the music here.

The Art of Fugue arranged for Instagram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUnOx6hfBE

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Special Guest: Jack Stratton (Vulfpeck). Down in a big way… with Bach?

Special Guest: Jack Stratton (Vulfpeck). Down in a big way… with Bach?

September 25, 2020

This is an interview with Jack Stratton of Vulfpeck. I loved our conversation during the summer of 2020. See some of the topics covered below and stay tuned for the next episode which will feature his arrangement of the ninth contrapunctus from The Art of Fugue. It was great to speak to a non-classical musician so eager about classical music and so involved with Bach. 

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Sleepify (Silent album by Vulfpeck)

 

Vulfpeck Arranges the ninth contrapunctus from The Art of Fugue:

Version 1: https://youtu.be/YcxQdRIY11o

Version 2: https://youtu.be/vJfiOuDdetg

 

Fugue State (song by Vulfpeck)

 

Musicians/Bands mentioned (Alphabetically):

Bach, The Beatles, Beethoven, Naftule Brandwein, Cream, ELO, Glenn Gould, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Liszt, Louis Marchand, Reinhold Mack, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Nirvana, Oscar Peterson, Queen,  Bernard Purdy, Albert Schweitzer, Nate Smith, Steely Dan, Dave Tarras, Michael Winograd,

 

Jack’s non-musical influences (Alphabetically):

Caldwell Esselstyn, Larry David, Dean Ornish

 

Other things mentioned (Chronologically):

A Musical Offering, Silberman Pianofortes, Encore Records (Ann Arbor), The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor), Alan Watts, S.J. Perleman The Ill Mannered Clavichord, The Well Tempered Clavier

 

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The 8th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Three Themes, Three voices.

The 8th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Three Themes, Three voices.

September 8, 2020

Back to it! Opening a new chapter in The Art of Fugue, this new chapter is one based on compound fugues, that is, our beloved ‘Art of Fugue Subject’ will now began to be combined with other new and unique themes. 

 

Instead of going from a ‘simple’ to a double fugue, Bach drops a voice (all previous fugues were in 4 voices) and composes immediately a triple fugue for three voices. Like perfectly symmetrical juggling, this fugue is filled with beauty and amazing structural points. 

 

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Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

The Art of Fugue arranged for Instagram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUnOx6hfBE

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Bonus: How to Detect B.S. (Bad Scholarship)

Bonus: How to Detect B.S. (Bad Scholarship)

August 17, 2020

This is the fifth bonus episode.

Well folks, I had a hard time getting this out there. As I sat down to debunk "Evening in the Palace of Reason" by James Gaines, I found myself overcome with the sense of being a bully:

This book, published by none other than Harper Collins (and probably more read than any book by a notable Bach scholar), initially had me enraged with its conclusions about the character of Bach and the reasons for composing such a noble work as 'A Musical Offering' BWV 1079. 

As I sat down to dismiss it however, I found that each sentence about Bach or the music was full of holes, so shrouded in pseudo-intellect, that I found myself overwhelmed with the task of cleaning up a mess far larger than the one about which I was enthusiastic.

Still, while feeling a bit like I was 'taking shots at a toothless tiger', I offer you "The Truth About 'A Musical Offering' " and hopefully the clearest guide for all interested parties on how to identify phony Bach scholarship, pseudo wisdom, and modern narrative.  

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Follow me on instagram: I am heavy into posting the solo works for violin and cello on a daily basis: @wtfbach

 

Thank you, THANK YOU, for listening.

-evan

 

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Bonus: A Bach Article from 1985

Bonus: A Bach Article from 1985

August 2, 2020

This is the fourth bonus episode.

 

Two episodes ago, I began with a quote from Aldous Huxley. That quote came from an article written in 1985. The article focused on Bach's relationship to words and various writer's relationships with Bach. The whole article is fascinating and, well, I read it to you. 

 

A piece of what I consider 'good scholarship', it takes stabs at what Bach playing would be like today, in 2020, but sets the standard for the next episode, in which we will be de-bunking poor Bach scholarship.

 

Here is the link to the article:

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/03/24/books/bach-at-300-words-notes-and-numbers.html

 

And here is the link to the obituary of the James A. Winn, who wrote it (d.2019)

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2019/03/27/james-winn-writer-english-professor-and-flautist/ZFGI9AJa9pvRcU13TyuOmJ/story.html

 

Follow me on instagram: Each day I am posting the cello complete suites on a portable clavichord: @wtfbach

 

As always, thanks for listening,

 

-evan

Bonus: Listener’s Choice: You asked, I talked.

Bonus: Listener’s Choice: You asked, I talked.

July 24, 2020

This is the third bonus episode.

 

You know how at the end of every episode, Gaby says, "Want to have evan analyze a specific piece of Bach... just for you?"

 

Boom: Listener's choice volume one.

 

Three pieces you requested were:

Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV855 (Book one)

Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp minor, BWV849 (Book one)

Capriccio on the Departure of the Beloved Brother, BWV992

 

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Forgive my delay in getting this to all of you: I have a noble undertaking regarding a popular Bach book which is doing nothing but leading you further from the truth about the master! But have no fear, in a few weeks I will unleash an attack and clear up this confusion: meanwhile please enjoy my brief analysis of these three pieces which, in their own right, could take up many episodes each.

 

Also: Lament Aria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lament_bass

 

Follow me on IG! Right now I am instagramming inner movements of the cello suites on a portable clavichord: @wtfbach

 

As always, thanks for listening,

-evan

The Second Canon in The Art of Fugue: A canon functioning at two simultaneous intervals!?

The Second Canon in The Art of Fugue: A canon functioning at two simultaneous intervals!?

July 3, 2020

Rather than moving on to the compound fugues, we have a pleasant visit to the second of four canons from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach:

Canon alla Decima in contrapunto alla Terza (Canon at the Tenth in counterpoint at the Third)

Topics covered: Aldous Huxley said that Bach is a manifestation of God? How does this second canon differ from the previous canon? What is a 'Cadenza'? So, you can play a canon with a delay pedal, but to what extent? 

Check out a picture of Bach's 'gift canon' here

NEXT EPISODE IS LISTENER'S CHOICE: DM EVAN WHAT PIECES YOU WANT TO HEAR

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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The 7th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: One theme at three different speeds?

The 7th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: One theme at three different speeds?

June 20, 2020

This is the last fugue of what we could call 'Chapter two' in The Art of Fugue: this is the third and final 'stretto fugue,' and the most complicated. Whereas in the previous episodes I mentioned in which direction subjects enter, inverted or not, or at which beat they overlap, in this episode, I disregard all of that in favor of trying to hear the three different speeds in multiple voices at once. I also ask the listener to imagine what this could sound like before the music is played. This is related to a technique called 'Audiation' which eventually will deserve special mention.

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Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

The Art of Fugue arranged for Instagram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUnOx6hfBE

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Suggestions? Want Evan to analyze a specific piece of Bach? Have other questions for Evan about music or anything at all?

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Special Guest: Robert Hill. How does he play Bach?

Special Guest: Robert Hill. How does he play Bach?

June 15, 2020

Guest Interview: Robert Hill, Harpsichordist

I had the privilege of speaking to Robert Hill, one of the foremost harpsichordists alive. Our discussion spans many different topics including harpsichord tuning and repair, clavichords, piano actions, lute-harpsichords, early Bach, old Bach, figured bass, inaudible sounds, metronomes, partimento, and anything else listed here:

People / Topics Covered:

Keith Hill (Instrument maker, Robert’s Brother)

Jaap Schröder (Dutch violinist Hill heard in Michigan)

Fernando Valenti (American Harpsichordist)

Charles Burney (English Music Historian)

Lute Harpsichord: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lautenwerck

Gustav Leonhardt 

John Dryden (the poet Leonhardt Quoted)

The Goethe Haus, Weimar (paint color)

Andreas Bach Book (french text only) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreas_Bach_Buch

Andreas Staier Harpsichordist with whom Hill recorded BWV1080

David Stanwood https://www.stanwoodpiano.com/ (Piano Technician)

The Squiggle on the title page of the Well Tempered Clavier

"Bach's face reconstructed"

"Bach's Seal"

Partimento (Reduction Technique): 

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Randy Rainbow (comedian) 

Madame de Villedieu (authoress), novel of note: "Desordres d'Amour

 

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Find a playlist of this episode’s music here:

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The 6th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: ‘In Stylo Francese’

The 6th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: ‘In Stylo Francese’

May 29, 2020

The second ‘stretto’ fugue: “Contrapunctus 6, in the French Style” now gives us the theme flying at two different speeds in both directions. We see the theme overlapped, coming both inverted and ‘rectus’, and now at 1x AND 2x speeds! Where will Bach go from here?!

Topics covered: What does it mean to play in the ‘French style?’ What does ‘diminution’ mean?

Pianists mentioned: Zoltán Kocsis, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Pierre-Laurent Aimard,

Harpsichordists (organists) mentioned: Helmut Walcha, Davitt Moroney, Robert Hill, Gustav Leonhardt, Isolde Ahlgrimm,

 

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

 

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The 5th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Our theme finally overlaps itself!

The 5th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Our theme finally overlaps itself!

May 21, 2020

Here we are on a new chapter! The stretto fugues have begun. We uncover the extensive use of stretto at various 'lengths:' 12 beats, 6 beats, 4 beats, 2 beats even down to a single beat. Entrances are now flying both upside down and right-side up without warning. 

Topics covered: Bach's cousin taught a 12-year old prince about fugues? 'Fleshing out' our Art of Fugue theme, Canons within fugues, The Art of Fugue orchestrated 

E.H. Gombrich's 'Little History of the World' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_History_of_the_World

The Art of Fugue arranged for Instagram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUnOx6hfBE

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Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Special Guest: Brad Mehldau. Why does he like Bach?

Special Guest: Brad Mehldau. Why does he like Bach?

May 14, 2020

This is an interview with pianist/composer/arranger Brad Mehldau. Our conversation on May 12, 2020 spanned many diverse topics from what he is reading at the moment, what he keeps on his piano, when and how he practices, the connection between bebop and Bach, his favorite video game and more.

Bach's Table of Ornaments: http://www.pennuto.com/music/jsb_ornm.htm

Hear the music mentioned (in the order we mention it) here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5iP9EMbyCBoB6hEyK5waK4?si=ukZQ0wy2T62vjGImM_Okfw

Read the literature from our discussion here:

Book of Jeremiah: (New American Bible translation) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PPE.HTM

The Upanishads: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Faustus_(novel)

Rilke, Letters to a Young Poethttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_to_a_Young_Poet

George Bernard Shaw music criticism: https://www.abebooks.com/Shaws-Music-Complete-Musical-Criticism-Bernard/30253564275/bd

Brad's favorite video game: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millipede_(video_game)

Musicians/Bands mentioned (Alphabetically):

Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Jon Brion, Wendy Carlos, Chopin, John Coltrane, Critters Buggin', Nick Drake, Fauré, Gershwin, Glenn Gould, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Haydn, Fred Hersch, Wynton Kelly, Jacques Loussier, Jerome Lowenthal, Lightning Bolt, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Willie Nelson, Phineas Newborn, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Charlie Parker, Murray Perahia, Oscar Peterson, András Schiff, Schubert, Schumann, Wayne Shorter, Nina Simone, Art Tatum, Tom Waits, Ween. 

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The First Canon in The Art of Fugue: Where do these pieces belong, and how do they get much more complicated than this?!

The First Canon in The Art of Fugue: Where do these pieces belong, and how do they get much more complicated than this?!

April 28, 2020

Rather than moving on to the fifth fugue, we have a brief visit to the first of four canons from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach:

Canon in Hypodiapason (Canon at the octave). 

Topics covered: What is an octave? Who is 'The Great One'? Why do musicians love Bach so? So... you can play a canon with a delay pedal?  

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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Bonus: Bach in Revision: How does Bach improve upon himself?

Bonus: Bach in Revision: How does Bach improve upon himself?

April 17, 2020

This is the second bonus episode.

In it, you will hear the first three fugues from “The Art of Fugue” in their 'early versions', meaning, the versions which Bach conceived before he sent them to be published. This is a rare moment to observe Bach making improvements or corrections on his own compositions. Noticing how Bach revises his own work is a pretty rare and- may I say?- exclusive look into the mind of the great genius. 

The 'Original Print', as I said, is found here: https://imslp.simssa.ca/files/imglnks/usimg/2/21/IMSLP23444-PMLP05843-Bach_Art_of_Fugue_1st_edition.pdf (DOWNLOAD IT! look at page 17 and 20, and 30! 30 has 'Bach's seal'... another podcast is in oder)

An important topic covered is the 'source tradition' of The Art of Fugue, and how the two principle sources differ. We also discuss what an autograph is, and what it means to have a composition 'published' in Bach's day.

I play the first three fugues in the original versions, expose the slight variants, and dissect these slight variants and how they came to become the printed version. 

I have not yet promoted this, but I will in my next 'regular' episode: 

I 'instagramed' the entire art of fugue, and wrote in the 'stories' important facts: just google: Art of Fugue Instagram -- obviously I am the only one. This could help ye who are zealous with visuals to get inside this great work. 

Therefore, follow me on IG!: @wtfbach

-evan

 

 

The 4th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Where is the golden section? Exchanging the Dux and the Comes

The 4th Fugue in The Art of Fugue: Where is the golden section? Exchanging the Dux and the Comes

April 4, 2020

The final piece in the first 'quartet' of fugues from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach: Contrapunctus 4. With this episode we have covered all of the 'simple fugues' in this sprawling work. 

Topics covered: A blind organist from Leipzig... Helmut who? The official Latin terms for the first two entering voices. A fugue made entirely of a subject and a two-note motif? What on earth is a golden section and how does one go about finding one? 

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

Follow Evan on Instagram for even more content about Bach: www.instagram.com/WTFBach

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The 2nd/3rd Fugues in The Art of Fugue: What is a Clavichord? Our first countersubject!

The 2nd/3rd Fugues in The Art of Fugue: What is a Clavichord? Our first countersubject!

March 22, 2020

We discuss the second and third fugues from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach.

We hear them played on a clavichord and a piano, then both arranged electronically with some new insights. 

Topics covered: How quiet is a clavichord? So... what's the vibe in general of The Art of Fugue? Countersubjects, inverted entrances, and the subject beginning to change. 

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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Bonus: Contrapunctus I: all screwed up… 11x

Bonus: Contrapunctus I: all screwed up… 11x

March 15, 2020

This is the first bonus episode.

In it, you will hear the first contrapunctus from “The Art of Fugue” (which, by now, you can tell your friends is called, ‘Die Kunst der Fuge’ in German) in eleven different ways.

Eleven is an important number in ‘Die Kunst der Fuge', and this first counterpoint- or fugue- or contrapunctus has eleven entrances.

If you hear the entirety of this bonus episode, you will have mastered the first counterpoint and could recognize it even if you heard an ice-cream truck playing it passing you at 70 MPH. That would be the day.

Also, if you haven't followed:

wtfbach on instragram

The First Fugue in The Art of Fugue: What is a Harpsichord? Eleven entrances?

The First Fugue in The Art of Fugue: What is a Harpsichord? Eleven entrances?

March 11, 2020

We discuss the first fugue from "The Art of Fugue" by J.S. Bach. We hear it played first on a harpsichord, then on a piano with 'voice-over analysis' then by a computer with the voices panned hard left/right.

Topics covered: How does a harpsichord work?, Must one bring out, or even hear every entrance of the subject?, What about authenticity vs. modern approaches to Bach?, Was Evan really called Slim-E? 

Find a playlist of the music here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

And the 16 year-old Evan Shinners' fugue is found here: https://soundcloud.com/emigrationposse/14-fuga

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What is a fugue? Who was J.S. Bach? Introductory podcast

What is a fugue? Who was J.S. Bach? Introductory podcast

February 29, 2020

The introduction to baroque composer J.S. Bach. Also, what is a fugue? What is counterpoint? We answer these questions and prepare ourselves for a journey into Bach's great work, 'The Art of Fugue.'

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Find a playlist of the music in this podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Ha250UDFktGqZjpt1hk7L?si=fIqZwtTUQJmzB9SYwskeYA

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