Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ana's Brain Is Filled with Frisks, and a Duet From Bach You Can Play With a Friend

Why would an extraterrestrial love our music? We've mentioned elsewhere that Ana dearly loves fugues. She tries to follow all the different voices, but usually gets lost in a shiver of wonderment. But that's the point. Those are the "frisks" that fill Ana's brain (among others).

Here's a three-part fugue that's one of Ana's favorites, played by Ton Koopman. It's an outstanding performance. See if you can hear the three melodies interlacing with each other. Just watching his hands play two different melodic threads while he simultaneously plays a third with his feet is disorienting enough. How can humans do this? (By practicing a lot, for one thing.)

Ana's editor, your humble servant, is a musician, but not, unfortunately, on the keyboard. He was a trumpeter in his salad days. He always wanted to be able to take part in playing a fugue, and he finally figured out how to do it: arrange a fugue as a duet for two instruments. A book of his arrangements was his first venture into publishing. It's still in print and still prized by lovers of challenging baroque music.

It so happens that he arranged this same Bach "Little Fugue in g minor," BWV 578, for two treble clef instruments. Yes, it's a three-part fugue--one of the parts was left out, but it's still clearly the same piece of terrific music, and great good fun to play with a duet buddy. You won't feel anything is missing.

This is it, below, a free sample from the book. You may right click it, print it, and call up your duet buddy for a jam session. We predict you'll have a ton of fun!

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