Bach Marathon – Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Barthold Kuijken, Benjamin Alard
About the program
Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, gave an audience to the 62-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach, his kind court composer and the father of Carl Philipp Emanuel, in Potsdam on 7 May 1747. Being musical himself (the king was an excellent flutist and well versed in all subjects), the meeting was in the spirit of music. Frederick the Great gave the Master of Leipzig an opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of counterpoint and ability to extemporise. He presented him with a theme that Bach had to improvise upon. Returning to Leipzig, Bach composed a series of 16 pieces based upon the “King’s Theme” within a couple of months. It was engraved on copperplate with a dedication dated 7th July, and the king was sent a copy painstakingly corrected by hand. Not long afterwards, the 30 September 1747 issue of the Leipziger Zeitung brought the completion of Bach’s new opus to the awareness of the public at large: “The Prussian King’s Fugal Theme (having been announced on 11 May of this year in the newspapers of Leipzig, Berlin and Frankfurt among others) has eluded the press to this day, but we hereby make it known that this very work may be purchased from the author, kapellmeister Bach, at the upcoming Michaelmas Fair or from his two sons in Halle and Berlin for the price of 1 thaler. The contents consist of 1. two fugues of three and six obliggato parts, 2. a sonata for cross flute, violin and continuo, and 3. various canons, including the Fuga canonica.”
Members of the Kuijken family have been definitive figures in the historically-informed performance movement for decades. Their appearance promises to be an exceptional experience with the atmosphere of court music-making.
This event is co-produced by Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Palace of the Arts.
Musikaliches Opfer, BWV 1079
Sigiswald Kuijken, baroque violin
Wieland Kuijken, viola da gamba
Barthold Kuijken, flute
Benjamin Alard, harpsihcord