Max Derrickson

Writing Music Program Notes for Over 20 Years

January 1

Happy Unknown Birthday, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina!(c. 1525 – February 2, 1594) Once upon a time, music history books taught that Italian composer Pierluigi (born in Palestrina, near Rome), was the “Savior of Church music.”  It’s a long story, but not particularly accurate.  But Palestrina is as great a composer as any to be the […]

Contrapunctus IX, “alla duodecima,” from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080

The Art of the Fugue may well be Bach’s seminal work and contains 14 fugues and four canons, all in D-minor, and arranged in increasing difficulty. … Instead of calling them “counterpoint(s),” Bach preferred the Latin word “Contrapunctus.” Number IX (9) is a study of turning that simple subject into a new derivation and into a double fugue (two themes treated as a fugue at the interval of a twelfth, thus the subtitle “alla duodecima”)…