Album Tweets 3: Strange Arts

Walt Mundkowsky

[October 2009.]

Cover of SoLyd Records SLR 001/2

Johann Sebastian BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (1740-45, 1748-50) (mono rec. 1 & 2/1993). Anton Batagov (pno). SoLyd Records SLR 0001/2 (2 CDs, 74:19 + 73:25) ( Purchased from rarervnarodru123, Moscow (

Glacial and deceptively uniform; pedal down nearly throughout. When I descend to a micro level, it’s transporting. At other times, enraging.

Cover of ORF CD 443

Johann Sebastian BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (1740-45, 1748-50). Walter Riemer (fortepiano after Andreas Stein, 1773). ORF CD 443 (2 CDs, 51:02 + 45:11) ( Purchased direct.

Riemer’s fortepiano brief is let down in execution. Uneven runs and wobbly trills pop up early, but he improves: IX and XIII have real snap.

Cover of Naxos 8.570577-78

Johann Sebastian BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (1740-45, 1748-50). Sergio Vartolo, Maddalena Vartolo (Taskin hpsi). Naxos 8.570577-78 (2 CDs, 46:41 + 55:32) ( Distributed in the US by Naxos (

A Frescobaldi man lobbies for that influence here. Some worthy ideas, but the fluctuating pulse drives attention away from the counterpoint.

Cover of Winter & Winter 910 153-2

Johann Sebastian BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 (1740-45, 1748-50). Il Suonar Parlante: Vittorio Ghielmi, Rodney Prada, Fahmi Alqhai, Cristiano Contadin (viols); Lorenzo Ghielmi (hpsi after Christian Vater, 1738; fortepiano after Gottfried Silbermann, 1749); Marcello Gatti (fl, Choral only). Winter & Winter 910 153-2 ( Distributed in the US by Allegro Music (

I enjoy the speed but not the lackluster, untidy air. The unfinished fugue hands its lead back and forth like a jazz combo and is completed.


LAIBACH: LAIBACHKUNSTDERFUGE, BWV 1080 (2006-08). “composed by iBach / translated by iMac / mixed by iTurk.” CD Dallas 506 ( Digital downloads, Mute iSTUMM297 ( Purchased via Discogs (

Slovenian art-rockers hijack DKdF, but Bach often peeks out from the droll, adroit synth textures. II gets a 20:53 canvas and some grandeur.