Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone

Musikalisches Opfer

22 June 2022
Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
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Johann Sebastian Bach
Musikalisches Opfer (The Musical Offering) BWV 1079

OTTAVIO DANTONE | harpsichord and conductor


The genesis of this collection of canons, fugues and a sonata for flute and violin dedicated to Frederick the Great is one of the extraordinary events in Bach’s life as narrated by his first biographer, Johann Nikolaus Forkel. In 1747 Bach visited his son Carl Philipp Emanuel in Potsdam, where he was employed as the harpsichordist at the court of Frederick II, himself a flautist, composer and philosopher. Bach asked the king for a theme on which to improvise a fugue. Back in Leipzig, this thema regium was developed into The Musical Offering, one of the high points in Bach’s canon and a masterpiece of contrapuntal music. Accademia Bizantina now dives into its complex instrumental structure, following Bach’s own suggestion in the Canon perpetuus: “Quaerendo invenietis”, seek and ye shall find.