About two weeks ago, Art of the Fugue made its way into my regular pieces. I never expected it, and it was totally not my plan – but it snuck in. I’ve had a growing hunger to play nothing but Bach in the mornings this past month or two – to the point that I was simply picking up random Bach pieces off my bookshelf and sight-reading them (or attempting to) no matter the difficulty. My fingers love how Bach awaken the muscles and give me an empowering kind of independence. I had a wonderful moment of this when after working on Contrapunctus I the entire morning, Beethoven in the afternoon was a dream. Rather than having two hands I felt like I was the conductor of 10 independent fingers. Such an amazing feeling.
Anyways, I love Bach at the moment and his fugues in short. And enough this time to kindle a deeper interest in the inner workings behind the fugal form and counterpoint in general. So I began to delve into the subject and ofcourse, came across Joseph Fux’s famous book Gradus ad Parnassum. It is the same work that Bach held in high regard and served as a theory guide for great composers such as Mozart. And so, I have, somewhat timidly I admit, begun to read the book. Since my music theory is still rusty from college, I am reading alongside the basic theory book — which is nice to dust off and get back into. I’m treating Gradus ad Parnassum as a regular textbook — taking notes and doing the exercises — the whole deal. And I know this must sound terribly geeky but I am loving it. It is a wonderfully fun project for me.
In the meantime I’ve also begun to look at other Bach pieces – the concerto in d minor will have to wait I think – but the Italian concerto does seem promising. There’s a good chance I will get into it after Contrapunctus I is solid. I’m also working on revitalising some of older pieces and it’s nice to see how they’ve changed since I last played them. My fingers definitely have changed since and it is quite noticeable when I play my old pieces. For now, I’d like to dust off my Brahms intermezzo and the Scarlatti sonata. Eventually, I will finish my Bach partita (partita no.6 in e minor) but honestly….that gigue has plain scared me. Perhaps I will find it easier to get into after Art of Fugue. We shall see! Until then…. back to theory! 🙂