Bach’s Fugue in E flat major (BWV 552) that ends the Clavier-Übung III, has been nick-named the “St. Anne” fugue, as the theme resembles the St. Anne hymn, O God, Our Help in Ages Past.
This is a triple fugue with each of the three sections having its own special character. In the third section, Bach writes a five-part double fugue for full organ. It is considered by many to be the most complex of all fugues ever written.
The twentieth-century theologian, organist, philosopher and physician, Albert Schweitzer said of this work, “The triple fugue ... is a symbol of the Trinity. The same theme recurs in three connected fugues, but each time with another personality. The first fugue is calm and majestic, with an absolutely uniform movement throughout; in the second the theme seems to be disguised, and is only occasionally recognisable in its true shape, as if to suggest the divine assumption of an earthly form; in the third, it is transformed into rushing semiquavers as if the Pentacostal wind were coming roaring from heaven.”
Enjoy this archival recording of the "St. Anne" fugue featuring organist, Helmut Walcha.