For better or worse, Bach's Art of Fugue has always stirred controversy, and likely always will. Without a doubt, much remains to be discovered about the work's substance and context. Yet even what little has come to seem clear, established, and uncontroversial can often be shown to need re-evaluation. Ferguson's new recording of the complete work, along with his essay for the booklet, directly challenges many commonly accepted views, demonstrating and defending it as an organ work, first and last.
The material offered below is meant only to widen the rather narrow perspective of the commentary on Art of Fugue typically found in standard books on Bach, so often focused only on details of Bach's contrapuntal technique and the controversial history of the first edition. From a wider perspective, better questions about Bach's masterwork can be asked, and better answers can be hoped for.