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Bach: The Art of Fugue / Les Voix Humaines

Bach,J.s. / Les Voix Humaines
Release Date: 05/28/2013 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2645   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Voix Humaines
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Montreal-based viol consort Les Voix Humaines has released a magical take on J.S. Bach’s unfinished magnum opus. Mozart, a fervent admirer, arranged it for strings. Glenn Gould performed The Art of the Fugue at the piano. Les Voix Humaines have brought their own special sound to this monument of Western music.

Rather than coldly focusing on the mechanics and mathematics of Bach’s greatest puzzle as Gould did, the sweet ebb and flow of these viols (ancestors of the modern violin, viola and cello) depicts the music as a series of conversations. This music is warmly engaging. Bravo to all for technically masterful interpretations that remind us that Bach was, first and foremost, a human being.

- The Toronto Star
Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), one of the peaks of the Baroque contrapuntal style, also turns out to be one of the most enigmatic works in the history of music. Though composed as a series of fugues on the same subject, Bach did not specify the instruments that should play them. Les Voix humaines viol consort has recorded its own version of Bach’s unfinished final work.

Since 2001, some of Montreal's finest gambists have regularly joined the viol duo Les Voix humaines to form the Voix Humaines Consort, which specializes in the vast 17th-century repertoire for viol consort. The regular quartet consists of Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau, Felix Deak and Susie Napper.

Les Voix humaines has recorded some forty discs, mostly on the ATMA label, which have received critical acclaim and prestigious awards (Diapason D’or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Repertoire-Classica 10, Goldberg 5, Classics Today 10/10, Prix Opus, etc). They include several discs with soprano Suzie LeBlanc and countertenor Daniel Taylor, a Telemann disc with renowned Belgian flutist Barthold Kuijken, a Marais disc with world famous gambist Wieland Kuijken, and Purcell's complete Fantasias for viols. Their recording of the complete Concerts a deux violes esgales by Sainte-Colombe (4 double CDs) is a world premiere, and the fourth volume was awarded a Diapason D'or. Read less

Works on This Recording

The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Voix Humaines
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1745-1750; Leipzig, Germany 

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