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David Royko Psy.D

Orion String Quartet + Windscape = My Favorite Bach Art of Fugue

Bach's Art Of Fugue is one of those massive, towering, exalted mighty masterpieces that you almost have to be, or are supposed to be, intimidated by. Some people think it was never even meant to be played or performed, just studied, and ol' Johann didn't specify what instruments we should use anyway. So it's been played, well, on darn near everything, from harpsichords to orchestras, piano, string quartets, organ, probably spoons. My favorite versions are by ensembles as opposed to solo keyboard -- easier to keep it straight with at least a few instruments. And I now have a new favorite recording, a live performance by the Orion String Quartet and Windscape, a woodwind quintet, in a great arrangement. It's a work that can be a bit arid and, yep, maybe a tad unapproachable, but these 9 players are just wonderful at making it sound simply like gorgeous music - which it is, academics be damned! Nothing unapproachable about it in their hands (and lungs). It's on Deutsche Grammophon (that's right, no e), their download-only line, under the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center umbrella. Mm mm good!


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