It is a manifestation of the highest art of composition and a legacy at the same time: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of the Fugue. The incomplete work, lacking indications about instrumentation and a defined sequence for the movements, is considered a challenge for every interpreter. The Russian pianist Evgeni Koroliov never fails to delight with his vivid and at the same time powerful performance of this work.
The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080
Introduction: 7:00 pm
When asked what piece he would take with him to the proverbial deserted island, György Ligeti had one definitive answer: Bach’s The Art of Fugue, and specifically in Evgeni Koroliov’s interpretation. “Koroliov’s recording,” the composer said, “is unique in that he succeeds in distinguishing the fugue’s four voices from each other, bringing them out vividly using different articulation. Furthermore, he understands superbly how to shape the formal architecture. I could listen to Koroliov’s Bach over and over again, starving and thirsty, until my last breath.”
At the early age of seven, Moscow piano pupil Evgeni Koroliov worked intensely on the C minor Prelude; ten years later he performed the Well-Tempered Clavier in concert. Bach became a guiding light in the life of the Russian pianist, who was long considered an insider tip: “Although I love many different kinds of music, it is this music that is closest to me.” Evgeni Koroliov will perform as guest of the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, playing The Art of Fugue – that compendium of the highest compositional art that was never completed, lacks specific indications about instrumentation and, with few exceptions, has no titles nor a defined sequence for the movements. In the words of Koroliov, this music has “a powerful, deep effect which differs greatly from that of Chopin or Tchaikovsky. It is like seeing an enormous mountain in the distance and yet being able to gauge how beautiful it is to be upon its peak...”