Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist,
harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and
secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo
instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque
period and brought it to its ultimate maturity.
Although he did not introduce new forms, he enriched
the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal
technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and
motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms,
forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy
This fugue was most likely written during Bach's Weimar
years, 1708-1717, when he was in the service of the
Duke of Sachsen-Weimar as court organist. He composed
much organ and keyboard music during this period,
including another fugue on a theme of Albinoni, that
one in A major and with the listing BWV 950. This B
minor effort features a theme of no outstanding
quality, but then Bach needed little inspiration to
compose in any genre. He thus fashions a quite
worthwhile piece here from seemingly modest materials.
The theme itself is made to fit Bach's contrapuntal
soul, beginning in the middle range with no
accompaniment on its first appearance. The main line
then moves to the upper register, with supporting fugal
activity coming from the left hand in the middle range.
Thereafter, the music busily develops, busily sprouts
variants, the main line moving from one hand to the
other and leaving the listener in awe at its wealth of
ideas, breathless at its unrelenting energy and mixture
of ambition and delight. Lasting four to five minutes,
this work is probably not a major masterpiece, but at
least a minor achievement worth greater attention.
Although originally written for Harpsichord. I created
this Interpretation of the Fugue in B Minor (BWV 951)
for Double-Reed Trio (Oboe, English Horn & Bassoon).