Bach’s death meant that the Art of Fugue was left unfinished. In his father’s manuscript, Carl Philipp Emanuel noted exactly where the last fugue of the Art of Fugue broke off: “While working on this fugue, in which the name BACH appears in the countersubject, the author died.” Our editor Davitt Moroney brings the fugue to a close with 30 supplementary measures.
There has been frequent speculation about what type of scoring would be most appropriate for the piece, particularly since Bach wrote the individual parts in score form and left no information about instrumentation. Certainly, strict fugues can be found in any ensemble scoring; this had been normal for centuries. It is remarkable, though, how the cycle can easily be played on the harpsichord or piano – a strong argument for keyboard performance.