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Published on May 11, 2012
Guitar & Trombone transcribed and edited by Jens Opitz von Grafenstein. Performed by Michael Munzert, trombone and Jens Opitz von Grafenstein, guitar. Sheet music is available. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org -read more-
Contrapunctus XIV originates from Bach´s last major work, a collection of 24 fugues called "The Art of Fugue" (original German: Die Kunst der Fuge). The musical piece was most likely to be intended a quadruple fugue, however it breaks off abpuptly when the fourth voice is introduced.
C.P.E. Bach, who later published "The Art of Fugue" from the inheritance of his father, made a note under the last bars: "At the point where the composer introduces the name Bach in the countersubject to this fugue, the composer died."
Bach died in 1750 after a failed eye surgery and could not complete his work. His last fugue is a combination of four independent voices, each picking up the musical motive of the other. However, when the third voice is introduced, something new comes into play, the different voices now seem to work independently from each other.
Bach wrote "The Art of Fugue" in open score, i.e. instrument data are completely missing -- we can only speculate what instrumentation he had in mind. When editing the original material, I assigned bass, tenor and alto voice to the guitar, the soprano voice to the trombone.
To process a musical piece of such high quality and precicion in voicing allows for no changes. To adopt the fingering of the guitar was the biggest challenge, since I had to preserve the original character of the peace and in the same time make it technically playable. The result, an adaption for guitar and trombone, is quite unique.