Bach’s Art of Fugue is a great musical enigma; left strangely unfinished, it is thought perhaps to have been intended not for performance but as a definitive guide to the writing of fugues, or a personal musical message meant as the composer’s greatest legacy … in any event it is a supreme masterpiece and here is given a brilliant and individual interpretation, in which Diana Boyle (whose Metier CD of the 48 Preludes and Fugues, Book II is also highly praised) brings out classical-style emphasis and phrasing, bring the music alive more than in traditional dry and academic accounts. The recording omits the optional ‘canons’ but includes the ‘Inversus’ sections of Contrapuncti 12 and 13.

—Jagan Nath Khalsa