program notes by composition > L > Little Fugue

Little Fugue

Johann Sebastian Bach/adapted by Calvin Custer

Little Fugue was written in G minor for organ, an instrument on which Bach was a virtuoso. (In a fugue, a short melody or phrase is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed through interweaving.) Early editors of Bach's work included “little” in the title to distinguish this piece from the later “Great Fantasia and Fugue in G minor” which is longer. It may also refer to the fact that “Little Fugue” is uncharacteristically not coupled with a preceding prelude.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) is the most famous of a large German family of performers and composers who lived during the late Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organization, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Last updated on March 25, 2016 by Palatine Concert Band