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Fugue On St Anne


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Some years ago a lengthy article in the Organist's Review analyzed JSB's Fugue on St Anne and highlighted it's associations with the Holy Trinity. Does anyone still have a copy ? I think John Bertalot may have been the author ? Please PM me privately - thanks.

 

H

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Some years ago a lengthy article in the Organist's Review analyzed JSB's Fugue on St Anne and highlighted it's associations with the Holy Trinity. Does anyone still have a copy ? I think John Bertalot may have been the author ? Please PM me privately - thanks.

 

H

The articles you cite are from OR August/2000 and November 2000 under the title Spirituality and Symbolism in the music of J S Bach. There are many articles about this. One public starting point is this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The title of the book by David Humphries is "The Esoteric Structure of Bach's Clavierübung III", published by University College Cardiff Press (1983). The ISBN is 0-906449-55-3.

 

The analysis of the Fugue does not receive as much attention as that of the Prelude, but is worth reading, nevertheless. In short, Humphries points out that the style of the fugue is the antithesis of that of the prelude (stile antico vs stile galant), and that antithesis is central to the whole of the Clavierübung III. This dualism is also evident in the obvious expression of three Persons in the prelude, while the fugue expresses one Person.

 

There are, though, many trinity and God references in the fugue.

Three each of:

Flats in key-signature

Subjects

Sections

Staves per system

Systems per page

 

27 (3 cubed) entries of the principal theme; 12 in section 1, 6 in section 2, 9 in section 3

 

Numbers of bars in each section

36 (4 x 9)

45 (5 x 9)

36 (4 x 9)

 

Number of voices in each section

5

4

5

 

Humphreys then points out that adding the multiplier of the 9 (3 squared) for the number of bars in each section with the number of voices in each section always results in 9. (For example, in section one: 4 + 5 = 9)

 

Humphreys also relates the prelude to the morning blessing (crossing oneself) and the fugue to the evening blessing (also crossing oneself).

 

That covers most of his analysis.

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Guest Cynic
The title of the book by David Humphries is "The Esoteric Structure of Bach's Clavierübung III", published by University College Cardiff Press (1983). The ISBN is 0-906449-55-3.

 

The analysis of the Fugue does not receive as much attention as that of the Prelude, but is worth reading, nevertheless. In short, Humphries points out that the style of the fugue is the antithesis of that of the prelude (stile antico vs stile galant), and that antithesis is central to the whole of the Clavierübung III. This dualism is also evident in the obvious expression of three Persons in the prelude, while the fugue expresses one Person.

 

There are, though, many trinity and God references in the fugue.

Three each of:

Flats in key-signature

Subjects

Sections

Staves per system

Systems per page

 

27 (3 cubed) entries of the principal theme; 12 in section 1, 6 in section 2, 9 in section 3

 

Numbers of bars in each section

36 (4 x 9)

45 (5 x 9)

36 (4 x 9)

 

Number of voices in each section

5

4

5

 

Humphreys then points out that adding the multiplier of the 9 (3 squared) for the number of bars in each section with the number of voices in each section always results in 9. (For example, in section one: 4 + 5 = 9)

 

Humphreys also relates the prelude to the morning blessing (crossing oneself) and the fugue to the evening blessing (also crossing oneself).

 

That covers most of his analysis.

 

 

The amazing thing is that (with all that) the music still sounds so unforced/perfect/natural!

Bach has always been my ultimate hero, and his music remains without parallel.

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The amazing thing is that (with all that) the music still sounds so unforced/perfect/natural!

Bach has always been my ultimate hero, and his music remains without parallel.

 

The question begs itself, did Bach consciously think of this while writing it, or was it his subconscious working. Knowing his fascination with mathematics, and his unparelled (personal opinion) talent, I would suspect the latter. I'm not expecting anyone to know the answer, its just hypothetical! :rolleyes:

 

Jonathan

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The question begs itself, did Bach consciously think of this while writing it, or was it his subconscious working. Knowing his fascination with mathematics, and his unparelled (personal opinion) talent, I would suspect the latter. I'm not expecting anyone to know the answer, its just hypothetical! :rolleyes:

The number significance in Bach's religious music (and of course I include CÜ III in that) is an area that fascinates me; I'm looking forward to my retirement so I can have the time to explore it. My guess is that it was mostly conscious, in the same way that a jazz player putting in quotes from other tunes is conscious. I seem to remember that the number of notes in the descending scales in the continuo part in the "veil of the temple" recitative in the St Matthew Passion reference the Psalms that mention earthquakes!

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i think it was probably reasoned and worked out... certianly if 540 (fmaj) is anything to go by. That piece is the ultimate in musical writing.

 

I'm not suggesting it wasn't reasoned and worked out, but rather that it wasn't contrived.

 

Jonathan

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