Chapter

Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903

Joseph Kerman

in The Art of Fugue

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243583
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941397 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243583.003.0007
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903

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An early version of the fantasy dates back to Bach's Weimar years. Its flamboyance and freedom, pathos and furor recommended it to the age of sensibility in the late eighteenth century as well as to several ages of Romanticism in the nineteenth, resonating in the soundscapes of both the perfected clavichord and the fully developed modern piano. In 1910, Heinrich Schenker put out an edition of the Chromatic Fantasy and fugue accompanied by a fifty-page monograph, still one of the most comprehensive discussions of any Bach fugue to be found in the musicological literature. This work owes its fame principally to the fantasy, and of course this is only right. This chapter deals with a very different genre from The Well-Tempered Clavier—music for display rather than study, for spontaneous effect rather than learning or subtlety or refined detail.

Keywords: Chromatic Fantasy; Bach fugue; music; Romanticism; musicological literature

Chapter.  3485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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