The most important member of the family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control are perfectly balanced.
Such a transcendent genius was Bach. His works have spoken to every cycle of musical taste with the exception of the one which directly followed him, and even in the Classical era the greatest composers knew and admired his work.
Formalists are swayed by his complex motivic and structural relationships and Byronic dreamers cannot resist the chromatic dissonances with their pregnant emotional implications.
Conservative musical scholars feel vindicated by his orderly setting out of rules of counterpoint; avant-gardists revel in the ways in which he broke each one. These Sonatas and Partitas, in addition to being great masterpieces on their own terms, have a historical resonance and a writing a countersubject within the violin tradition which makes a performance of these works a major statement.
In today's information-saturated era, accepting this challenge means finding a way to reconcile the differences in approach suggested by instrumental tradition, historical accountability, and personal taste.
In recent years, the Original Instruments movement has opened our eyes to the communicative possibilities of the lighter sonorities and deft dance-like qualities of stringed instruments as Bach knew them.
On the writing a countersubject hand, the mainstream violinistic tradition has found an emotional depth in Bach's works which can connect us with the continuity of human endeavor and the universality of the artistic impulse. To unify these two traditions in practice means to bring the insights of the historical performance movement - transparent textures, generally quick tempi, and sprightly articulation - to the tradition of great violin playing - beautiful tone, first class technical values, emotional connection, and personal vision.
We have a magnificent fair copy in Bach's own strong handwriting dating fromso they certainly were not written any later than that. But it is also conceivable that these works were a project completed over several years. During the last years of Bach's period in Weimar he was Konzertmeister of the court orchestra and was also engaged in writing a complete cycle of cantatas over four years.
His keyboard transcriptions of concerti by Marcello and Vivaldi BWV - show that he was involved in serious study of the Italian manner of composition. This was perhaps furthered by interaction with Johann Georg Pisendel -the concertmaster of the Court orchestra at Dresden, who had been a violin student of Vivaldi.
Bach left Weimar in under a cloud - his attempt to break his contract resulted in his being thrown in jail - and it is certainly possible that some of his manuscripts were lost in that transition.
In addition to providing a complete overview of the possibilities for a the forces involved, these ambitious projects represent the high point in Bach's initial compositional goal of incorporating Italian freedom and ease into the highly organized Northern style.
Previous Unaccompanied Violin Music in Germany The task of writing for a violin unaccompanied had been tackled previously by German composers as early as with the Passacaglia of Heinrich von Biber -and continuing with Johann Paul von Westhoff - who made a sensation in performing his Suite for solo violin at the French royal court, and later published Six Partitas for solo violineach in four movements.
Westhoff was in Weimar at the end of his life, and Bach probably knew these works through personal contact with him there.
Both Biber and Westhoff were adept at double stopping to a remarkable degree. Finally, Pisendel's Sonata a violino solo senza basso may be the direct inspiration for Bach's set. A comparison with Pisendel's sonata shows that Bach's most important advance was his compositional technique. By the melodic independence of each contrapuntal line and the complexity of voice-leading relationships, Bach creates the illusion of complete harmony both in polyphonic and in single line music.
Bach's interest in Italian music led him to combine the austere complexity of these German antecedents with the emotionally direct Italian style.The countersubject is written in invertible counterpoint at the octave or fifteenth.
The distinction is made between the use of free counterpoint and regular countersubjects accompanying the fugue subject/answer, because in order for a countersubject to be heard accompanying the subject in more than one instance, it must be capable of sounding correctly above or below the subject, and must be.
I am having trouble composing a fugue.
I would like someone competent in fugue writing or knowledgable about fugues to suggest resources I can consult to improve for the particular problems I am ha.
In music, an invention is a short composition with two-part counterpoint. Well-known are the fifteen inventions that make up the first half of Johann Sebastian Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias.
Inventions are usually not performed in public, but serve as exercises for keyboard students, and as pedagogical exercises for composition students.
"Modal and Tonal Counterpoint" by Harold Owen is a book that all teachers of counterpoint, theory, and composition, should have at their disposal.
Classical Lost and Found (regardbouddhiste.com) and its CROCKS Newsletter tell you about new classical recordings of forgotten music by great composers and great music by forgotten composers. Exceptional sounding discs for the audiophile are also noted.
Fugue: Fugue, in music, a compositional procedure characterized by the systematic imitation of a principal theme (called the subject) in simultaneously sounding melodic lines (counterpoint). The term fugue may also be used to describe a work or part of a work. In its mathematical intricacy, formality.