top of page


Thursday October 31, 2019 at 12:15PM

Christ Church Cathedral, Chapel of the New Jerusalem

Pre-concert talk at 11:30AM 

EMV 2016-17 -- Fretwork -- In Nomine --
fretwork banner crop.jpg




The brilliant players of Fretwork viol consort perform Bach's late, great masterwork. This hour-long concert will be performed without interval.

“Although J.S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue was written well after the sun had set on the age of the viol consort, we find that our ensemble thrives in this music, as a kind of single polyphonic organism. By assigning each line of counterpoint to a different instrument, the work’s brilliant structure becomes illuminated from within, without losing any of its cohesiveness. It is to date our highest selling recording and our favourite Bach programme.”

-- Richard Boothby

Johann Sebastian Bach 
Die Kunst der Fuge 

Contrapunctus 1

Contrapunctus 2

Contrapunctus 3

Contrapunctus 4 
Contrapunctus 5

Contrapunctus 6

Contrapunctus 7 
Contrapunctus 8

Contrapunctus 9 
Contrapunctus 10

Contrapunctus 11 
Contrapunctus 14

To view/download this programme, click here

“Fretwork remains the world’s leading viol consort”  --The Independent


When Fretwork recorded the Art of Fugue in 2002, we made no attempt to complete the final Contrapunctus, preferring to end our recording exactly how the manuscript ends, the music trailing off in dramatic fashion. 

However, since then I have become increasingly dissatisfied with this approach and I have tried to find a more fitting conclusion to this great work. Reading more, it became clear that, despite C. P. E. Bach’s assertion on that last page of his father’s manuscript that his death interrupted the composition, in fact the work was written much earlier.  Yet Christoph Wolff’s suggestion that there was a missing page, the notorious ‘fragment X’ didn’t quite convince me either, given the expanse of empty staves left by Bach after his last notes. 

Then recently I read the doctoral thesis of New Zealand organist and scholar Indra Hughes, which suggests that Bach left the work unfinished on purpose, in order to encourage others to complete what he had surely done in his head. 

Hughes didn’t attempt to complete the work himself, but made several specific suggestions as to how long the completion needed to be and what elements were needed to fulfil the requirements of such a completion.  In particular, he seemed to have solved the problem of what was referred to in Bach’s obituary:

This is the last work of the author, which contains all sorts of counterpoints and canons, on a single principal subject. His last illness prevented him from completing his project of bringing the next-to-last fugue to completion and working out the last one, which was to contain four themes and to have been afterward inverted note for note in all four voices. 

I have taken his suggestions and made one possible completion of the work.


Tickets for the Pacific Baroque Series concerts at the Cathedral can be purchased:


Online Here


By calling the Ticket Rocket Box Office:​ 1.855.842.7575 

In person:

  • At the Ticket Rocket Box Office (1050 Meares Street) 

  • Or at the Cathedral Office (930 Burdett Avenue)

  • And at the following outlets:

    • Ivy’s Bookshop: 2188 Oak Bay Ave

    • Munro’s Books: 1108 Government St


Parking Information

The Cathedral is located on Quadra Street at Rockland Avenue. 

Street parking is available on Quadra Street, Burdett Avenue, and Rockland Avenue, as well as at the south entrance to the Cathedral off Burdett.

bottom of page