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Bach : L'Offrande Musicale
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Description du produit
Il capolavoro di Bach 'L'offerta Musicale' (1747), è un omaggio musicale scritto in occasione della visita di Bach a Re Federico il Grande di Prussia a Potsdam. Registrato nella splendida cornice della Old Town Hall di Lipsia nel corso del 250° anniversario della morte di Bach nel 2000, questa registrazione cattura parte dell'atmosfera tipica dei tempi del compositore. Barthold Kuijken, flauto traversiere; Sigiswald Kuijken, violino; Wieland Kuijken, viola da gamba; Robert Kohnen, clavicembalo
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Do not, however, choose this DVD to introduce the Musical Offering to an uninitiated listener. It's very austere, watching four old men sit formally and play without physical affect for an audience of chiefly elderly Germans in a setting without much charm or warmth. You may ask, therefore, why the DVD format is appropriate at all? That's an unanswered question in my mind. The music is what matters, and that's up to your ears. It's interesting, nonetheless, to see the earnest craftsmen at work, to behold the aura of high seriousness they shed as they play.
Johann Sebastian had arrived in Potsdam on 7 May 1747 after a lengthy (two days and a night) and difficult journey from Leipzig. He was responding to a personal summons from Frederick the Great: the flute playing monarch anxious to hear "Old Bach" improvise upon, properly temper and break-in his large collection of organs, clavichords and harpsichords. It was a selfish Royal summons for Bach was 62, quite elderly for the time, and ill. His sight was failing and, sadly, he had only 3 years to live. But the King was the employer of Bach's famous son Carl Philipp Emanuel, chief harpsichordist in Prussia's Royal Kapelle. So that was that. Bach came as summoned. The King had Johann Sebastian come to the palace as soon as he arrived, still in his traveling clothes. Patience was not a kingly virtue in Prussia in 1747. When Bach arrived he was presented with a fiendishly difficult "Royal theme" and asked to improvise upon it. Bach effortlessly produced a three-part fugue. As the assembled glitterati oohed and aahed, the King eagerly asked Bach for a six-part fugue on the crabbed theme. Bach had never even written a six-part fugue, let alone improvised one to such a spare, chromatic melody. He demurred: calmly improvising on a theme of his own making, producing six-part textures and, at the end of the evening, politely promised to work on the task at home. Two months later, Bach sent Frederick the music now known as The Musical Offering. It is a masterpiece of structured counterpoint: a musical monument of the Baroque era. Hugely demanding, performances are uncommon. This DVD is a splendid release that all lovers of Bach and the Baroque will savor.
All four musicians are superb. Baroque era music is in their blood. As one would expect, this is an historically informed performance. No vibrato, tempos are swift, an objective rather than introspective musical dialog between equals. Bach's musical architecture is presented joyfully by four craftsmen happy in the sheer pleasure of making music. Inner voices are clear and distinct, crisp melodic line upon crisp melodic line. Their sound is never muddy, their Baroque sonorities earthier than their modern counterparts. What a pleasure it is to watch and to hear such musical professionalism! Old Bach would be pleased to learn what has become of his "Right Royal Theme".
The DVD was recorded live at the Altes Rathaus during the Leipzig Bach Festival on 28 July 2000. The picture format is NTSC 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. It is crystal clear. Sound formats are PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Both are splendid with the Dolby providing greater space around the instruments and rear ambiance from the room. The region code on my edition is 0 worldwide. Running time of the disc is 54 minutes. A thin booklet is enclosed.
A great Bach masterpiece beautifully performed. The disk is short but the music glorious. Most strongly recommended for everyone.