BWV 578

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

'Little' fugue in G minor

BWV 578 performed by Dorien Schouten
Bovenkerk, Kampen

This 'little' fugue has a fairly lengthy theme.

Music to play

Bursting with enjoyment.

This piece is found in many copies from Bach’s day. Around 100 years after his death, it was published no fewer than four times in rapid succession. Bach’s pupil Johann Georg Schübler thought the theme was so successful that he made a fugue out of it himself. So it was an immensely popular piece. It is not surprising, as the music is bursting with enjoyment. It conjures up a picture of Bach writing enthusiastically and enjoying his own theme while composing. It’s as though he can’t get enough of it, as it is a relatively long time before the second entrance appears.

The piece as a whole has an Italian feel to it and the opening is reminiscent of a violin melody, which is handy to play with an open D string. Although there is plenty of other music that clearly shows a composer relishing his own ideas, it is usually of interest mainly as a ‘composition game’. This piece, however, was not just a game for the composer, but is also fun to listen to and to play. So when organists refer to this piece as the ‘Little’, it is not meant to be denigrating, but is purely to avoid confusion with Bach’s other, longer fugue in G minor, BWV 542, the ‘Great’.


BWV
578

Epithet
‘Little’

Title
Fugue in G minor

genre
organ work

Year
1703-1707

City
Arnstadt/Weimar

Cast & Crew

release date 4 November 2016
recording date 1 October 2015
LOCATION Bovenkerk, Kampen
ORGANIST Dorien Schouten
DIRECTOR Jan Van den Bossche, Hanna Schreuders
CAMERA Maarten van Rossem, Gijs Besseling
MUSIC recording, EDIT AND MIX Guido Tichelman
Film editor and interview Gijs Besseling
Producer Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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