J.S.Bach :: 4 Duettos BWV 802/5

0:11 Duetto I (E Minor)
2:56 Duetto II (F Major)
6:37 Duetto III (G Major)
9:19 Duetto IV (A Minor)

Bach's four duetto's,BWV 802-805, four little mysterious pieces, published in 1739 by the master himself in his third part of his Clavierübung III, right before the incredible fuge in E flat Major. Many speculations have been made what Bach could have convinced to put these pieces exactly on this place. The rest of this book is clearly dedicated to the organ, giving an overview in style, from old to modern contra punt and from old to most modern technique.

These duo's are of another dimension than the two part inventions. Here, Bach puts everything to its limits: contrapunt, harmony and technique. This music feels sometimes as abstract 18th century music, as if Bach pays no attention to what the average musician around him is used to. We hear harmonies that are very dissonant, and moreover, are even "forbidden" in our current view on classical harmony. At least, I should not have written something similar down during my conservatory time...

Also from technical point of view, these pieces demands everything a composer could ask from a performer. An extreme degree of independency between the two hands, each playing the most of the time passages that tend not to care about the physical limitations of a keyboard, with its normal division of black and white keys...

It is my feeling that these four duetto's are clearly keyboard music, not organ music. The many runs in the lower octaves are typical keyboard music. Yes, they are playable on an organ, and I myself did play them on concerts long time ago, but only compare the texture to the other pieces of this third book, makes this clear.
Giving the accents required to make all contrapuntal idea's clear, and the tradition of the time, where these pieces where studies (in the 18th century meaning), it is obvious to me that Bach had the clavichord in mind, as he had with his other "serious" music for the "practice" room or to be played for a small audience of what they mean with the German term "Kenner". See in this regard the 3 minute vlog I made on Forkel:(Scroll down on this page)

Thanks for watching - listening - sharing - subscribing !!

Related Videos