Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

by Jan van Biezen | Het ORGEL | Year 116 | (2020) | Issue 3

Of Die Kunst der Fuge there exist an autograph and a print published after Bach’s death. The autograph originally consisted of 12 pieces, written on 4 folded double sheets and 1 folded single sheet, from ca. 1742. The last 3½ pages were originally empty. On these, and on a folded sheet shoved into the last folded sheet, Bach added 3 pieces in ca. 1746, of which the last is a new version of number 12. The original pieces in the autograph, which Bach did not number, clearly form a coherent, progressive whole, intended to be performed as a whole. In this article the author argues that Bach intended the original 12 pieces as a musical representation of the 12 articles of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.