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  Наименование CD :
   Musikalisches Opfer



Год издания : 2001

Компания звукозаписи : AliaVox

Время звучания : 1:11:54

Код CD : AV 9817 (7 619986 098173)

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CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Classics (Reconstruction)      

J.S. Bach - The Musical Offering, for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079

About BWV 1079 on 'bach-cantatas.com'

Orchestrated by A. Webern

Le Concert des Nations - Jordi Savall, director

Recording Date and Place : in November 1999 and April 2000 in the Colegiata del Castillo de Cardona (Catalonia)

A Musical Offering

Of all the later works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), major pieces which represent a synthesis of the great composer?s art and science, the Musical Offering is by far the best known, its fame predating that of the Goldberg Variations and The Art of Fugue.

Let us briefly mention an anecdote attaching to the Offering: the young king of Prussia, Frederick II, who was a passionate music-lover, was keen to bring "old Bach" to his Court. In the spring of 1747, Bach duly arrived in Potsdam and was immediately received by the king, who proceeded to play him a theme on which Bach was then to improvise a fugue. Upon his return to Leipzig, Bach wrote down the three-part fugue, a six-part ricercar, ten canons and one sonata for flute (the king's favourite instrument) composed on the theme provided by Frederick II. He then dedicated the work to his sovereign and gave it the title Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta (Piece executed by command of the King, together with other pieces executed according to the art of the canon), thus forming an acrostic RICERCAR. Bach had the work engraved in separate instalments - five in all - on copperplate, of which no complete copy survives today. This has given rise to the numerous conjectures which even today surround the question of the unfinished status of the work, the order in which the various pieces were intended to appear and the symbolic intentions concerning the possible organisation of the pieces.

The order chosen by Jordi Savall in this recording is one musician's reading of a rich and complex score on which there are no hard and fast indications as to how it should be approached. His choice is based on an arch-like construction: the opening three-part Ricercar is mirrored by the six-part Ricercar at the end, by way of a conclusion to this meditation on counterpoint; in the central position is the admirably charming Trio Sonata. This same originality of choice is also to be found in the initial statement of the Royal Theme, the renewe presentation of several pieces and the progressive development of the canons.

J.S. Bach - A Musical Offering

Of all Bach's late works, which stand as a synthesis of the composer's art and technique, the Musical Offering is by far the best known. Its popularity among music-lovers has surpassed that of the Goldberg Variations and The Art of Fugue, closely followed by the second book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Canonical Variations and the Leipzig Chorales for organ.

There are several reasons for the work's popularity, not least the charms of the admirable trio sonata which makes up a large part of it. Modern musicians have brought to it the passionate interest that the canons have inspired in Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and the searching analysis of Webern, who proposed a masterly orchestration of the Six-part Ricercar. The more or less legendary story surrounding its genesis may also have drawn the curiosity of audiences to a work which is still partially cloaked in mystery.

Let us pause briefly to consider the circumstances which led to the Offering. Bach's second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, had for some years been harpsichordist to Frederick II, the young king of Prussia. The latter, who took a passionate interest in music, urged C.P.E. Bach to bring "old Bach" to his court. In the spring of 1747, at the age of sixty-two, J. S. Bach arrived in Potsdam, accompanied by his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann. Upon his arrival, he was summoned to the castle. The newspapers reported the event thus: "In the evening, at about the time when the Music of the King's Chamber enters the royal apartments, His Majesty was informed that Kappelmeister Bach had arrived in Potsdam and was at that moment in the King's antechamber, awaiting permission to listen to the performance. His Majesty immediately ordered Bach to be ushered in. The King himself took his place at the instrument known as the pianoforte and, with no prior preparation, was gracious enough to play a theme on which Kappelmeister Bach was to improvise a fugue. [...] Bach was so impressed by the beauty and complexity of the theme he had been given that it is his intention to weave it into a full fugue and have it engraved on copperplate".

Not long after this event, in the obituary written for his father, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach corroborated the story, adding: "After returning to Leipzig, he wrote a three-part piece and a six-part Ricercar, together with a number of pieces on a theme that had been given to him by His Majesty, the copperplate engraving of which he then dedicated to the King".

As a heading to the work, Bach wrote: Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta (Piece executed by command of the King, together with other pieces executed according to the art of the canon). This inscription contains the acrostic Ricercar, simultaneously evoking the spirit of inquiry from which the work sprang, the genre of fugue and the three and six-part ricercare which are the cornerstones of the work.

We shall not go into the intricacies of what happened next. Suffice it to say that Bach had the work engraved by instalments, in five separate parts, of which no complete, correctly paginated copy survives today. This state of affairs has led to numerous speculations concerning the possibly incomplete nature of the work, as well as the order in which the pieces were intended to appear and the possible symbolic intentions underlying them.

The order chosen by Jordi Savall in this recording is not intended as the statement of a musicological stance, but is rather one musician's interpretation of an extraordinarily rich and complex score, concerning which there are no exact indications today as to how it should be approached. Savall has opted for the fine arch-shaped structure, which would appear to be the most satisfactory: the opening Three-part Ricercar is answered by the closing Six-part Ricercar, representing the culmination of the whole exercise in counterpoint; the central position is occupied by the Trio sonata. The originality of Savall's choices can be seen on several occasions, as in the statement of the Thema Regium (royal theme) at the beginning, the new presentation of several pieces (including the Six-part Ricercar, which is first heard at the end of the first part), and the gradual unfolding of the canons.

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========= from the cover ==========

J.S. Bach's Musical Testament

The musical monument entitled "Bach's Testament", which in this recording takes the form of the Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue, is inspired in an idea which occupied Bach during the last years of his life: to leave a true musical testament, or legacy, to the world.

1747: creation of the Musical Offering

1748/49: completion of the Mass in B minor

1749: completion and copperplate edition of The Art of Fugue

1750: death of J.S. Bach

In fact, the Mass in B minor, the Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue together form a perfect synthesis of Bach's skill and genius in the art of musical composition, particularly in counterpoint, as well as his phenomenal capacity for invention and extraordinary sense of structure, form and number. These masterpieces overcome the most rigorous challenges, whilst never sacrificing the expressive quality and musical eloquence which, even in his most elaborate and complex passages, provide the unbroken thread of Bach's musical discourse.

After Bach's death, the changing tastes in music favoured a lighter, more gallant style which was to remain/in fashion until the Romantic period. Consequently, for a long time, and even until our own day, the deeper significance of these works was simply not understood. They were unjustly regarded as purely theoretical pieces, "works to be read rather than listened to''. Restored at last to their rightful context, the Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue can be seen to have not only great compositional power and an extremely rich contrapuntal texture, but also a musical and expressive quality of a purity and depth that have rarely been equalled, as well as a modernness which never fails to surprise audiences.

Our reading of these two pinnacles of pure instrumental music is based on the necessary balance between a global conception of form, on the one hand, and the indispensable ingredient of individual creativity on the other, a reminder that Bach himself was an outstandingly gifted improviser. We must restore these musical masterpieces to their true extempore dimension, which is at the very source of their creation, highlighting their perfect synthesis of formal structure and emotional content.

More than 250 years after his death, the mysterious current of Bach's genius continues to transport us to the depths of the human spirit. Like myriad enchanted mirrors, these ricercars, sonatas, canons, fugues and counterpoints provide the inexhaustible impulse for a spiritual and aesthetic journey into those sublime realms where the human and the divine communicate and are sometimes united in harmony.

- Jordi Savall (Venice, 23rd July 2001)

Of all Bach's late works, which stand as a synthesis of the composer's art and technique, the Musical Offering is by far the best known. Its popularity among music-lovers has surpassed that of the Goldberg Variations and The Art of Fugue., closely followed by the second book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Canonical Variations and the Leipzig Chorales for organ.

There are several reasons for the work's popularity, not least the charms of the admirable trio sonata which makes up a large part of it. Modern musicians have brought to it the passionate interest that the canons have inspired in Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and the searching analysis of Webern, who proposed a masterly orchestration of the Six-part Ricercar. The more or less legendary story surrounding its genesis may also have drawn the curiosity of audiences to a work which is still partially cloaked in mystery.

Let us pause briefly to consider the circumstances which led to the Offering. Bach's second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, had for some years been harpsichordist to Frederick II, the young king of Prussia. The latter, who took a passionate interest in music, urged C.P.E. Bach to bring "old Bach" to his court. In the spring of 1747, at the age of sixty-two, J. S. Bach arrived in Potsdam, accompanied by his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann. Upon his arrival, he was summoned to the castle. The newspapers reported the event thus: "In the evening, at about the time when the Music of the King's Chamber enters the royal apartments, His Majesty was informed that Kappelmeister Bach had arrived in Potsdam and was at that moment in the King's antechamber, awaiting permission to listen to the performance. His Majesty immediately ordered Bach to be ushered in. The King himself took his place at the instrument known as the pianoforte and, with no prior preparation, was gracious enough to play a theme on which Kappelmeister Bach was to improvise a fugue. [...] Bach was so impressed by the beauty and complexity of the theme he had been given that it is his intention to weave it into a full fugue and have it engraved on copperplate".

Not long after this event, in the obituary written for his father, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach corroborated the story, adding: "After returning to Leipzig, he wrote a three-part piece and a six-part Ricercar, together with a number of pieces on a theme that had been given to him by His Majesty, the copperplate engraving of which he then dedicated to the King".

As a heading to the work, Bach wrote: Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta (Piece executed by command of the King, together with other pieces executed according to the art of the canon). This inscription contains the acrostic Ricercar, simultaneously evoking the spirit of inquiry from which the work sprang, the genre of fugue and the three and six-part ricercare which are the cornerstones of the work.

We shall not go into the intricacies of what happened next. Suffice it to say that Bach had the work engraved by instalments, in five separate parts, of which no complete, correctly paginated copy survives today. This state of affairs has led to numerous speculations concerning the possibly incomplete nature of the work, as well as the order in which the pieces were intended to appear and the possible symbolic intentions underlying them.

The order chosen by Jordi Savall in this recording is not intended as the statement of a musicological stance, but is rather one musicians interpretation of an extraordinarily rich and complex score, concerning which there are no exact indications today as to how it should be approached. Savall has opted for the fine arch-shaped structure, which would appear to be the most satisfactory: the opening Three-part Ricercar is answered by the closing Six-part Ricercar, representing the culmination of the whole exercise in counterpoint; the central position is occupied by the Trio sonata. The originality of Savall's choices can be seen on several occasions, as in the statement of the Thema Regium (royal theme) at the beginning, the new presentation of several pieces (including the Six-part Ricercar, which is first heard at the end of the first part), and the gradual unfolding of the canons.

1. Thema Regium. To begin with, we have the Thema Regium, the royal theme on which the entire work is based (with the exception of the Andante of the Sonata, in which it nevertheless appears as an ornament). At this point, the flute is heard in honour of Frederick IPs own instrument. Was this theme truly devised by the King himself? Might it be rooted in something he half-remembered? Or was the theme perhaps suggested to him by his harpsichordist, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach?

2. Ricercar a 3. This three-part fugue is perhaps a recollection of Bach's improvisation at the pianoforte before Frederick II. Improvisation or no, its structure, with its two counter-subjects, is much more scholarly than it may at first seem.

3. Canon perpetuus super Thema Regium (Perpetual canon on the royal theme). The first of the canons, like the opening Ricercar, is written for three voices. Only two of them are notated, however: the superius, stating the royal theme, which is to be played as a two-part canon, and the bass in contrary motion.

4. Canon 1 a 2 "cancrizans" (Two-part "crab77 canon). The first enigma in the collection. A single melodic line is written, beginning with the royal theme. The second voice is the same, except that it is played from right to left. The parts are superimposed, one part ascending while the other descends the timeline and, after intersecting half-way through to form a cross, each pursues its own course.

5. Canon 2 a 2 violini in unisono (Canon for two violins in unison). As in the Canon perpetuus, there are three voices, only two of which are scored. The royal theme is stated by the bass, the superius,

or higher voice, being reserved for the two violins, which play in canon at an interval of one measure.

6. Canon 3 a 2 per Motuin contrarium (Two- part canon in contrary motion). Once again, there are three voices but only two are notated. The royal theme is stated by the superius, accompanied by the second voice, which gives rise to a third, the two latter moving in canon and in contrary motion (in other words, progressing in the opposite direction, each ascending melodic interval being imitated by a descending interval, and vice versa). Another tour de force!

7. Canon 4 a 2 per Augmentationem contrario Motu (Two-part canon in augmentation and contrary motion). Here, Bach writes: Notulis crescentibus crescat Fortuna Regis ("As the notes increase, may the fortunes of the King do likewise"). One of the two notated parts states the appropriately ornamented royal theme, accompanied by the second voice. A third must be deduced, progressing in contrary motion (an ascending third becomes a descending third, etc.), and, moreover, in augmentation, so that all the values are increased by a ratio of two to one (a quaver becomes a crotchet, etc.).

8. Ricercar a 6. Bach is known to have dazzled the court at Potsdam by improvising a six-part fugue on a theme of his own choice, and to have promised King Frederick to do the same with the royal theme. This is the "full-blown fugue'. Written for the harpsichord, it is engraved on six separate staves, one for each part, as was the custom with scholarly pieces. A kind of amplified echo to the introductory Ricercar a 3, its highly concerted development is in keeping with the spontaneity of its supposed improvisation. Undoubtedly one of Bach's most splendid fugues, it has never ceased to be admired; it was played on the organ from as early as the end of the 18th century.

9 - 12. Sonata sopr'il Soggetto Reale a Traversa, Violino e Continuo (Sonata on the royal theme for transverse flute, violin and bass continuo). A sonata in the galant style comes to lighten the severity of Bach's impressive canonic composition. This was perhaps intended as a tribute to the King, who was himself a flautist, and is overwhelming proof that Bach was a man of his times, at ease in court circles. The sonata follows the structure of the Sonata da chiesa with its four movements (Largo, Allegro, Andante, Allegro), while its charm, melodic exuberance and poignant emotion (especially in the Andante) are guaranteed to capture the audience's imagination. Careful listening, however, reveals an extensive use of the canonic procedures and the strictest contrapuntal style on which the work is founded.

13. Canon a 2 Quaerendo invenietis (Two-part canon). At the top of the piece, Bach quoted the Gospel according to St John: Quaerendo invenietis, "Seek and ye shall find". Did Frederick II find? We cannot know for certain... A single melodic line is notated. How should the second voice be deduced, and at what point should it enter? That is the mystery. According to this first solution, the written line (beginning with the royal theme) is played right side up, and then its mirror image is superimposed on it in canon.

14. Canon a 2 Quaerendo invenietis. Still on the harpsichord, the preceding canon is re-introduced using a different solution: first the mirror version is played, on which the canon right side up is then superimposed.

15. Canon 5 a 2 per Tonos (Two-part canon by pitch). Here Bach indicates another sound metaphor: Ascendenteque Modulatione ascendat Gloria Regis ("As the keys ascend, so may the glory of the King also ascend"). The canon is in three parts, with two notated: the ornate royal theme appears in the highest voice, while the other part is played by the two canonic voices separated by the interval of a fifth. But that is not all. This modulating canon in fact ends one step higher in pitch than it began, and performers are obliged to transpose by one note on each reiteration. So we hear the canon ascending one degree after another, exploring the entire range of the scale, until it returns to the opening key of C minor. What an image for the King's glory!

16. Fuga canonica in Epidiapente (Canonic fugue with follower at the fifth). Yet another feat of composition, since this three-part fugue is scored for only two voices. Here, there is no enigma: Bach gives instructions as to how to proceed. First the notated parts are played, and then, ten measures later, the third voice comes in, the same as the first (with the royal theme), one fifth higher.

17. Canon 4 per Augmentationem contrario Motu. A new presentation of the previously heard canon (Number 7).

18. Canon perpetuus (Perpetual canon). This time, everything is scored for a trio consisting of flute, violin and bass continuo, as in the Sonata. The flute and the violin play the same music, with new ornamentations on the royal theme, but in canon and by contrary motion. Inversion allows the royal theme to be played in its standard and mirror versions by each of the two voices which share it.

19. Canon a 4. (Four-part canon). The only canon which is not in C minor (it is in G minor), and the only canon written for four voices, this is perhaps the acme of compositional complexity, since only one line is notated, while the remaining three must be sought and found. These three lines reproduce the line notated at the unison and at the octave, and should enter gradually at measures 8, 15 and 22...

20. Ricercar a 6. A new presentation of the previously heard piece (Number 8), but this time scored for orchestra. Although the original was written for the harpsichord, there is nothing to stop musicians proposing different interpretations and thereby revealing the sometimes hidden aspects of the contrapuntal structure and emotional power of the polyphony, which is of itself expressive due to the suppleness of its melodic lines and the uncompromising purity with which they are combined. As this great adventure draws to a close, after discovering and incessantly developing the richness of a few notes from a truly royal theme, the listener's pulse races as his mind is lifted to the realm of the sublime. Let us listen carefully as, at the very end, Bach deftly weaves into the musical fabric those four notes which spell his name (B - A - C - H), thus discreetly concluding with his musical signature what is a masterpiece of human invention.

- Gilles Cantagrel (translated by Jacqueline Minett)


  Соисполнители :

Bruno Cocset (Violoncello)
Manfredo Kraemer (Violin)
Marc Hantai (Flute)
Pablo Valetti (Violin)
Pierre Hantai (Harpsichord)


№ п/п

Наименование трека

Текст

Длительность

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   1 Thema Regium         0:00:30  
   2 Ricercar A 3         0:06:25  
   3 Canon Perpetuus Super Thema Regium         0:02:28  
   4 Canon 1 A 2 (cancrizans)         0:01:56  
   5 Canon 2 A 2 Violini In Unisono         0:01:34  
   6 Canon 3 A 2 Per Motum Contrarium         0:02:06  
   7 Canon 4 (A) Augmentationem, Contrario Motu         0:02:37  
   8 Ricercar A 6         0:08:49  
   9 I. Largo         0:06:30 Sonata Sopr'Il Soggetto Reale
   10 II. Allegro         0:05:30 -"-
   11 III. Andante         0:03:21 -"-
   12 IV. Allegro         0:02:54 -"-
   13 Canon A 2 Quaerendo Inventietis (9A)         0:01:42  
   14 Canon A 2 Quaerendo Inventietis (9B)         0:01:08  
   15 Canon 5 A 2 Per Tonos (Acsendenteque Modulatione Ascendat Gloria Regis)         0:03:30  
   16 Fuga Canonica In Epidiapente (6)         0:02:21  
   17 Canon 4 (B) Augmentationem, Contrario Motu         0:03:08  
   18 Canon Perpetuus (per Just Intervali) (8)         0:03:28  
   19 Canon A 4 (10)         0:04:42  
   20 Ricercar A 6         0:07:15  

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