Like the viol consort, the string quartet suits this kind of composition (the fugue), with all four instruments sufficiently similar in character to each other to match the extraordinary unity and economy of the counterpoint. A string quartet playing Bach fugues is a good example of a harmonious relationship between form and content: just as there is a unifying principle behind the construction of the four string instruments, so there is (usually) a single theme or subject that unifies the construction of a four-part fugue. Thus the form enacts the content, telling you something about the text and message within.
Apart from Haydn's and a handful of other composers' wondrous creations, there's little fugal writing for string quartet, at least in comparison with the abundance of other forms. This was another reason to make these arrangements. The quartet offers a melodic independence impossible to achieve on a single instrument. And I believe the technical and interpretative challenges posed by this repertoire – lightness of sound and rhythmic fluidity, for example - will be very valuable to quartets seeking the holy grail: a unified sound.
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Flexible String Ensemble: Old English Suite: String Ensemble: Score and Parts (Allen)
Trio Op54: Violin Cello & Piano
Quartet No.1 In D Minor: 2Vln.Vla.Vc
Organ Fugue BWV538: STRING QUARTET: (Gareth Clemson )
10 Bach Fugues For String Quartet Book 2 (Thomas)
14 Fugues (from Well-Tempered Clavier): 2 Violins Viola And Cello (hofmann)
Art Of Fuge BWV1080 Violin I Part (version For String Quartet) (Barenreiter)
Art Of Fuge BWV1080 Violin II Part (version For String Quartet) (Barenreiter)
Art Of Fuge BWV1080 Viola Part (version For String Quartet) (Barenreiter)
Art Of Fuge BWV1080 Cello Part (version For String Quartet) (Barenreiter)
Prelude & Fugue FMajor BWV854 Cello Trio