The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, by Johann Sebastian Bach

AOF Home Page



"Über dieser Fuge..."
Structure of The Art of Fugue
The "unfinished" fugue
About the realization
How to listen to The Art of Fugue
About the narratives below


The Art of Fugue

Simple Fugues
Contrapunctus I  (3:52)
Contrapunctus II  (3:12)
Contrapunctus III  (3:49)
Contrapunctus IV  (3:18)

Canon alla Ottava  (4:12)

Stretto Fugues
Contrapunctus V  (2:24)
Contrapunctus VI  (4:20)
Contrapunctus VII  (2:49)

Canon alla Decima  (4:44)

Double and Triple Fugues
Contrapunctus VIII  (5:17)
Contrapunctus IX  (2:46)
Contrapunctus X  (3:29)
Contrapunctus XI  (6:58)

Canon alla Duodecima  (3:33)

Mirror Fugues
Contrapunctus XII + inversus  (3:36)
Contrapunctus XIII + inversus  (4:23)

Canon per Augmentationem  (4:16)

Quadruple Fugue
Contrapunctus XIV  (11:52)

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Contrapunctus XIV: quadruple fugue, 350 bars, 11:52   

And here we are. If you've followed the rest of these pages and clips through from Contrapunctus I, you've traveled a great ways from the initial counterpoint on the main AOF theme. With this fugue, Bach completes his epic cycle in most appropriate fashion. I won't write too much about this fugue here, since I've already discussed it at length in the introductory page about the "unfinished fugue." I'll simply show the four subjects; if you've listened to all of AOF, it will be obvious enough where they appear.

In this clip, you'll hear Bach's 239 measures, followed by the 111-bar completion of Zoltán Göncz that brings the fourth subject, the AOF theme, into its rightful place as the crown of the work.

Player image: The images of the mirror fugues and the augmentation canon showed the final acts of dying stars. Some stars, however, do much more than shed their layers in gently expanding shells: they blow themselves to bits in catastrophic supernova explosions. Shock waves from these supernovae propagate across the galaxy, and occasionally these shocks smash into cold, dark clouds of gas. Thus impelled, the gas can begin to contract under its own gravity, heating and beginning to glow. Eventually, stars are born from these contracting clouds of gas. All around the Milky Way are such stellar nurseries, the birthplaces of new stars, new light, new warmth. The Orion Nebula, pictured above, glows with this light. A cluster of four of these young stars, known as the Trapezium, is visible at center. In the grandest sense, death is a portal to new life, playing out across the cosmos in a great cycle. Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope.