The DCD Classical 'Cast is also available as an enhanced podcast. When played through iTunes, the DCD Enhanced Classical 'Cast displays the album art of the works as they play, and provide links to webpages where you can find out more information and purchase the selections.

Monday, August 10, 2009

DCD 074 - Token Creek Bach, Part 2

Bach's "Musical Offering" is the subject of the DCD Classical 'Cast, episode #74. In 2007 the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival presented a talk on "The Musical Offering," followed by a performance of the work.

The talk forwarded a theory about the circumstances surrounding Johann Sebastian Bach's visit to the court of Frederic the Great in 1748, where his son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach was employed. Tradition has it that Frederic the Great, an amateur musician, gave J.S. Bach a theme to improvise a three- and then a six-voice fugue from. But some think that the awkward theme was actually written by C.P.E. Bach, deliberately constructed to make counterpoint especially difficult.

Did Carl Philipp want to show up his father? Was the idea to show how old-fashioned and out-moded counterpoint was? Whatever the reason, J.S. Bach would take the theme, and eventually present Frederic with "The Musical Offering," a collection that had both a three- and six-part ricercare crafted from it. The Offering has further examples of masterly counterpoint, as well as a trio sonata written in the new style his son championed.

While the origins of the theme may be unclear, there's no doubt that it yielded a musical masterwork.

This podcast we feature selections from the Token Creek release of "The Musical Offering." All tracks were recorded live at the 2007 festival.

- Ralph

This program we play:

From Bach's "The Musical Offering" BWV 1079
Token Creek Recordings, TCR119

Ricercare a 3
John Harbison, piano

Trio (Sonata sopr'll soggetto reale), mvts. 2 & 3
Adam Kuenzel, flute; Rose Mary Harbison, violin; John Harbison, piano; Karl Lavine, cello

Ricercare a 6
John Harbison, piano

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