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J S BACH: THE ART OF FUGUE (2CD for the price of 1)

Bach's Art of Fugue is a great musical enigma; left strangely unfinished, it is thought perhaps to have been intended not for perofrmance but as a definitive guide to the writing of fugues, or a personal musical message meant as the composer's greatest legacy ... in any event it is a supreme masterpiece and here is given a brilliant and individual interpretation, in which Diana Boyle (whose Metier CD of the 48 Preludes and Fugues, Book II is also highly praised) brings out classical-style emphasis and phrasing, bring the music alive more than in traditional dry and academic accounts. The recording omits the optional 'canons' but includes the 'Inversus' sections of Contrapuncti 12 and 13.


AUDIO SAMPLE: Contrapunctus IV (extract)






The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080:
14 Contrapuncti

NOTE: First pressings of this title do not carry the Divine Art logo and catalogue number, as they were produced for the performer by Elective Solitude Recordings

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“This riveting, intelligently thought-through reading by the talented Diana Boyle includes the fourteen Contrapuncti and the Inversus sections of Contrapuncti 12 and 13, but not the optional Canons. Lovers of Bach's keyboard music will find it competitive.” - Barry Forshaw (North London News)

“Absolutely compelling. This is musical architecture at its highest, and Diana Boyle reads it very personally and with profound feeling and sincerity, while at the same time faithfully conserving the music's universal quality. It is one of the most exciting and technically excellent interpretations I know.” – Nigel McG (Amazon)

“ Any listener who has become fascinated by {this work] is likely to want a selection which can be enjoyed in different ways. It is good to hear a performance that is above all determined to capture the changing musical character of the work rather than simply to demonstrate the complexity and ingenuity of the fugal writing. I must note that Ms Boyle produces some very beautiful sounds and textures, and her speeds are well chosen. It may indeed appeal to anyone who has been put off the music previously because of its reputation or unsympathetic performances. I cannot deny the beauty and character that is given to the music - rather than extracted from it. At the right time and in the right mood you may find this irresistible – I can see it becoming a cult version in some circles.” – John Sheppard (MusicWeb)

“ Diana Boyle's recording of Bach's Art of Fugue is extraordinarily wonderful...also shocking, revelatory. More than anything, I had the feeling of history flowing backwards, as if Bach's music had been waiting for later musical evolution to reveal its hidden nature. Her playing seems not so much an art of interpretation as a new creation. The tone is bell-like and magnificent. Her colouring and voicing is phenomenal both in conception and execution. Once in a while something comes along that reconnects me with the ‘absolute' power and value of certain music and the art of bringing it to life, and this was one of them.” - Robin Ireland (of The Lindsays)

“Boyle plays ... in a slow, lyrical manner closer in feeling to the French Impressionists ... genial, relaxed approach. Overall her performances have a relaxing, hypnotic, almost Zen feeling about them. I find myself completely engrossed in Boyle's playing.” – Lynn Rene Bayley (Fanfare)

“Pianist Diana Boyle well understands Bach's sixteen Contrapuncti which step by step created The Art of Fugue as music beyond belief. She has made a very good performance and understands the nature of the music, but most of all, she is genuine.” – George Balcombe (Music and Vision)