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Thread: Z. Göncz Reconstruction of The Art of Fugue

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    Default Z. Göncz Reconstruction of The Art of Fugue

    So I was reading about this reconstruction ( here: http://wesley.hu/_files/the_ultimate...rly_2007_4.pdf) and found it highly interesting and wanted to see the results. There are two versions on youtube (there are more than two videos but only two different interpretations) one sounds quite amateurish and clunky but the other one (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa85...D-RZ4v-LQ&t=0s) is decently well done even if the sound quality is not great. This made me wonder if the full Art of Fugue had ever been recorded with this ending and after some digging, I found that there has indeed been one (and I believe only one) recording of the Art of Fugue with this reconstruction by the very same organist in the youtube video, Daniil Protsyuk. It is available as a digital download on Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes. It's $10 on all of these but Amazon and CDBaby use MP3 downloads as iTunes uses AAC so you should get the best sound quality off iTunes. I haven't listened to it yet but am excited too; from listening to the samples it seems like a competent interpretation with tempos on the swift side.

    As to the actual reconstruction, I would bet it's very close to the original. The evidence presented in the article is compelling and the result is quite good. Some of the counterpoint doesn't seem quite as clear as Bach would have probably done it but overall it is much more satisfying (in my mind) than having it taper off almost randomly.

    Thoughts?

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    Daniil Protsyuk's recording of AoF can be had on CD here (it is a live recording):

    https://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Art-...aniel+protsyuk

    Since a Russian friend brought this recording with her home to me some twenty years ago, I have rated it relatively highly. The original recording only comprised the unfinished fugue, the completion was made later. Many have made completions of this fugue (Tovey, Walcha, Rogg, Moroney, Bergel, Ferguson et.c.). Until now I found Rogg's version the better, but I have to admit, that this one Protsyuk plays (by Göncz) is the more Bachian and displays fine contrapuntal skill. Though I do not understand your words "close to the original", since the original was lost or maybe even never made.

    The other version on you tube (played by Gyula Szilágyi (Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, 1996) includes the score of the completion by Göncz:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcRDfiRpuns
    Last edited by premont; Jun-13-2018 at 11:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by premont View Post
    Daniil Protsyuk's recording of AoF can be had on CD here (it is a live recording):

    https://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Art-...aniel+protsyuk

    Since a Russian friend brought this recording with her home to me some twenty years ago, I have rated it relatively highly. The original recording only comprised the unfinished fugue, the completion was made later. Many have made completions of this fugue (Tovey, Walcha, Rogg, Moroney, Bergel, Ferguson et.c.). Until now I found Rogg's version the better, but I have to admit, that this one Protsyuk plays (by Göncz) is the more Bachian and displays fine contrapuntal skill. Though I do not understand your words "close to the original", since the original was lost or maybe even never made.

    The other version on you tube (played by Gyula Szilágyi (Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, 1996) includes the score of the completion by Göncz:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcRDfiRpuns
    I said "I would bet it's close to the original", obviously I don't know what the original would have sounded like or if there even was an original (although if Bach never finished the final fugue he certainly, to a very large extent, knew what he wanted to do with it). Additionally, unlike other people who attempted to finish the fugue Z. Göncz largely didn't compose new music that he thought would be a 'suitable' ending. He looked at patterns in the music to try and recreate the fugue Bach had (probably) written. The article in the OP explains it. It is in this context as well that I say, "I would bet it's close to the original".

    Interesting that you found it on CD, I live in Canada so never even thought to check on amazon.com. Regardless, I've been listening to it and found it quite good. There's a decent bit of background noise and the tempos sometimes seem a little too swift but the organ has a good sound and the playing is quite competent.

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    Interesting stuff. Like Premont, so far I liked Rogg's completion best.
    Tried to order the Protsyuk cd, but they do not deliver at my address.
    I do not understand: finally Amazon can make some money... and then they refuse!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Interesting stuff. Like Premont, so far I liked Rogg's completion best.
    Tried to order the Protsyuk cd, but they do not deliver at my address.
    I do not understand: finally Amazon can make some money... and then they refuse!
    I listened to Rogg's completion (and a couple others) and still have to say that Z. Göncz's is quite clearly the best one (to me at least).

    Amazon probably won't ship it to you because your address is so far away they won't make money. . You'll just have to suck it up and get the digital download like me.

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    Not to be that guy, but why do some insist on finishing AoF? No one goes to a museum with a hammer and chisel and finishes unfinished Michelangeo sculptures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder572 View Post
    Not to be that guy, but why do some insist on finishing AoF? No one goes to a museum with a hammer and chisel and finishes unfinished Michelangeo sculptures.
    Some people think that the ones in Venice are in fact finished -- a representation of man's struggle to become

    prisoner-atlas.jpg
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-21-2018 at 22:23.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder572 View Post
    Not to be that guy, but why do some insist on finishing AoF? No one goes to a museum with a hammer and chisel and finishes unfinished Michelangelo sculptures.
    This is a poor analogy. If someone attempted to finish those Michelangelo sculptures his would be the first, and last, attempted completion. If someone completes the Bach fugue it doesn't change the source material, prevent people from listening to the unfinished version, or prevent someone else from attempting to complete it.

    As to why people attempt this, I can only guess. It would certainly be a great compositional challenge. Some might want to hear a completed version (I know I certainly do). Z. Göncz wanted to make his version as close to what Bach intended as humanly possible. Others have disregarded generally accepted evidence of what Bach wanted to do and simply written a couple bars to finish it off and provide something more satisfying. Ultimately, scholarship, human drive, curiosity, and the want for something better are probably the main motivating factors but if you really wanted to know you'd have to ask someone who's attempted a completion.

    As I've posted before, Z. Göncz certainly muddles the polyphony trying to combine the three themes in stretto but when the fourth theme enters the next portion is basically set in stone by the nature of the permutation fugue and is essentially 100% Bach. I find this part to be the best part of the entire fugue. The finale is quite well done, I'm not a music theorist but I would guess the addition of more voices with set themes again limits the contrapuntal possibilities, we end up with more Bach and less Göncz (even if the counterpoint becomes a little muddled at times), which was Göncz's goal all along.

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