Bach: Musical Offering

Bach: Musical Offering (BWV 1079)
Barthold Kuijken / Sigiswald Kuijken / Wieland Kuijken / Robert Kohnen
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77307


  1. Ricercar a 3 (harpsichord)
  2. Canon Perpetuus super Thema Regium (violin, flute, viola)
  3. Canon a 2, cancrizans (harpsichord)
  4. Canon a 2, Violino in unisono (harpsichord, violin)
  5. Canon a 2, per motum contrarium (flute, harpsichord)
  6. Canon a 2, per Augmentationem, contrario motu (viola, harpsichord)
  7. Canon a 2, per Tonos (violin, harpsichord)
  8. Fuga canonica in Epidiapente (harpsichord, flute)
  9. Ricercar a 6 (harpsichord, violin, flute, viola)
  10. Quaerendo invenientis: Canon a 2 (harpsichord)
  11. Quaerendo invenientis: Canon a 4 (harpsichord)

  12. Sonata Sopr'il Soggetto Reale (flute, violin, continuo)
  13. I. Largo
  14. II. Allegro
  15. III. Andante
  16. IV. Allegro
  17. Canon Perpetuus (flute, violin, continuo)

Performers: Barthold Kuijken (flute), Sigiswald Kuijken (violin), Wieland Kuijken (viola da gamba), Robert Kohnen (harpsichord)

Instruments: Flute, Alain Weemaels, Brussels 1990 (after Grenser, Dresden c.1755); Violin, Giovanni Grancino, Mailand c.1700; Viola da gamba, Nicolas Bertrand, Paris 1705; Harpsichord, Johannes Daniel Dulcken, Antwerp 1755

Playing time: 49'

Recording date: February 1994

As most readers will be aware, Bach wrote & published this set shortly after visiting Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1747, and based on a theme the King purportedly devised. All of the pieces in the set are based on the same theme.

The three- & 6-part ricercars are considered among the summits of Bach's contrapuntal writing. The trio sonata of this set is also among his finest chamber works. The other pieces (canons) are perhaps more academic, but still fascinating.

Other important recordings:

J. S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer
Le Concert des Nations - Jordi Savall
Alia Vox 9817
J.S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer
Ensemble Sonnerie - Monica Huggett
Virgin Veritas 45139
J.S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer
Davitt Moroney, et al.
Harmonia Mundi 901260

Besides the fine trio sonata of the Musical Offering, Bach wrote a few others. Recordings for these works:

Bach: Trio Sonatas
Nicolet / Jacottet / Fujiwara
Denon 7331
Bach: Trio Sonatas
London Baroque
Harmonia Mundi 2951173

Also, the trio sonatas for organ BWV 525-30 are also frequently transcribed. Two recordings:

Bach: Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-30
Musica Pacifica
Virgin Veritas 45192
Bach: Six Trio Sonatas
The King's Consort - Robert King
Hyperion 66843

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Todd M. McComb