Writings Albert Fuller

Bach Recording Rationale

In preparation for his 1992 recording of harpsichord music by J. S. Bach, Albert produced the following document as a conceptual guide.


I have long felt that all the music I love is in some way a direct metaphor for the human activities of singing and dancing, the gifts of the Muses!

Bach, a personality whom I adore, was, according to this reasoning, likewise inspired in his human physicality by his own understanding of the human need for singin' and dancin'.

The raison d'être of this present recording is to show my own, personal understanding of how this proposition illuminates the harpsichord works that Bach himself created and in what he loved in the works of others.

The Italians first developed the violin as a surrogate voice, allowing those who could not sing to possess the high c's of the sopranos on the stages of their beloved opera houses. Inspired by this idea of surrogate voices and with Vivaldi as his model, Bach demonstrated that the concerto concept, normally realized by seven to a dozen people, could also be a viable expressive vehicle for one person alone at the harpsichord. This Italian Concerto in the Italian style was the result.

At the same time, the French had long been seized by balletomania, the love of dancing. Louis XIV's passion furieuse influenced every house of noble pretensions throughout Europe for almost three hundred years, permeating the entire diplomatic world with the need to dance. Hence the appropriateness of such a work here as the French Set (Suite) of dance pieces with a prélude.

The desire to play the fugal game of musical interweaving came to Bach from German organ writing, derived and developed from vocal church music styles. Unwilling to present the unprepared listener with such a demanding mental musical chess game as is a fugue, Bach wrote introductions or préludes for each of these fugues. The preludes serve as "stage settings" for the fugal interplay. Often these scenes were inspired by images from Bach's own contemporary world: in the F minor, the operatic stage of the aria; in the D Major, the orchestral music of a great potentate.

Bach, however, was also a homebody, with two wives and twenty children . Think how he must have understood diapers and the joys and griefs of siring and supporting his own children through their many young deaths as well as their lives, some quite ordinary and some others fueled by their own, personal musical genius. Therefore, the private music, beloved by his adored wife, Anna Magdelana, and played by his own children forms the most personal sector of this recording. With two exceptions, all these works are dance pieces loved by his family. Louis XIV's beloved Menuet, the polonaises of the internationally set, a bagpipe piece, an aria, and finally a prayer closes this section and this record.

The order of the final section, Bach at Home, has not been decided. The pieces are arranged here in their numerical order in the book. A more affective, emotional arrangement will be conceived to close the recording.