J.S. Bach wrote Die Kunst der Fuge in open score, so it is often played by pianists, harpsichordists, string quartets, and chamber groups of varied instrumentation, though an excellent choice for this monumental study of fugal techniques is the organ, the composer's principle instrument. The issues that arise when performed on a single keyboard are more easily managed on multiple manuals and pedals, and the counterpoint is given great clarity and character through the use of the organ's various stops. André Isoir's superb performance in Saint Cyprien in Périgord is especially enjoyable because of his judicious registration, which brings contrasts of dynamics and timbres to these monothematic fugues and canons, which can sound a bit dry when played on a less versatile or colorful instrument. The sound of the recording is clear and focused in the church setting, and the balanced acoustics of give just enough reverberation to enhance the organ's sonorities without blurring them.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080|