Posted on Sep 28, 2009

On Monday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m., Union will present a rare performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's monumental work, “The Art of Fugue,” by duo-pianists Jon Gillock and Dean Kauffman.

Art of Fugue, Bach concert

Admission to the concert, which is co-sponsored by Union’s Music Department and the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, is $20. The show, to be held in Taylor Music Center, is part of the chapter's fall calendar of events.

“The Art of Fugue,” or “Die Kunst der Fuge,” is perhaps better known by its reputation than by its transcendent beauty. It’s not only Bach’s last work, it’s also incomplete and the great composer left no indications about the piece’s instrumentation. As a result, musicians and theorists have considered it a purely academic work that demonstrates ultimate mastery of the most complicated fugal techniques – from simple fugues and canons to double, triple, and quadruple fugues in mirror and inversion.

Gillock and Kauffman will present the work in a version for piano/four-hands (on two pianos). To purists, this may seem strange since the piano did not exist during Bach's lifetime. But to the performers, this seems like an ideal medium for purely musical reasons. They will employ an endless palette of colors to fit each fugue. In addition, because of the expanded tonal range that four hands give, they can even produce an organ-like effect that will give the work majesty and solemnity.

For tickets, call 462-2405. Seating is limited.