This year, the Pannon Philharmonic won't commemorate the dead with conventional funeral music. The piece heard this time focuses much more on the immortality of the spirit, the multifacetedness yet unity of humanity drawn from each other and the ambiguity of life's fulfilment and inevitable incompleteness. We can listen to a globally famous yet in its entirety unknown work, Bach's The Art of Fugue. In the final decade of his life, the elderly Bach attempted to make a comprehensive, encyclopedic summary of various genres in several of his works. He did the same with the already then highly prestigious genre, the fugue. The 14 fugues are based on the same theme, which keeps changing to such an extent that it turns into independent themes, later encountering their own former and later selves. An identical "soul" lives on in continuously renewing "bodies". The last movement, which uses four different forms of the theme at the same time, remains incomplete. Neither did the composer leave any indication of the instruments he wished to apply. These "deficiencies" contribute to the work's immortality even more strongly, as since then, numerous conductors and composers have felt that they should score and complete this musical treasure. This time, we can hear the piece in Erich Bergel's 1985 arrangement.
ENERGY AND EXPERIENCE
Around All Souls Days, orchestras tend to play Requiems. Why did you pick The Art of Fugue?
No matter when we perform it, Bach's music is fundamental. It is a European entity standing above nations, which inherently determines our musical culture. Without him, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner and Brahms’s music would be different. The Art of Fugue carries a kind of spirituality without words; it invites us on a spiritual journey into a transcendental quality. Fragmental creation is important to me because besides other marvellous musicians, the Romanian-born, Erich Bergel worked on the piece a lot too, giving it his ending, which represents the same lively and vibrating attitude to life as I do.