Fugue

Johann Sebastian Bach

Fugue in B minor

BWV951

About this work

This fugue was most likely written during Bach's Weimar years, 1708-1717, when he was in the service of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar as court organist. He composed much organ and keyboard music during this period, including another fugue on a theme of Albinoni, that one in A major and with the listing BWV 950. This B minor effort features a theme of no outstanding quality, but then Bach needed little inspiration to compose in any genre. He thus fashions a quite worthwhile piece here from seemingly modest materials. The theme itself is made to fit Bach's contrapuntal soul, beginning in the middle range with no accompaniment on its first appearance. The main line then moves to the upper register, with supporting fugal activity coming from the left hand in the middle range. Thereafter, the music busily develops, busily sprouts variants, the main line moving from one hand to the other and leaving the listener in awe at its wealth of ideas, breathless at its unrelenting energy and mixture of ambition and delight. Lasting four to five minutes, this work is probably not a major masterpiece, but at least a minor achievement worth greater attention.

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