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A companion volume to Gloria: Letters From Hymnwriters, providing brief commentary for each church season, creative letters from the writers of traditional hymns, suggested hymns for singing by the choir and congregation, and original descants for several hymns.
Nineteen canons and fugues (complete with a piano reduction). Also included is a set of canonical variations on a theme by Frederick the Great, complete with solutions and a realization of the keyboard part.
The Musical Offering dates from a visit of Bach to the court of Frederick II in Berlin, where his son Carl Philip Emmanuel was Court-Kapellmeister. The King (himself a composer maily for flute) gave Bach a theme suitable for a fugue. This was at once elaborated by him into a 3 part fugue. Later on Bach developed this with his own themes and fugues and dedicated the work to the King(Opfer — Offering). The instruments are mostly not indicated and left to players to decide upon. The Goldberg Variations date from 1742 and were named after Bach's pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg who was a chamber musician to one Count Keyserling. The count suffered from insomnia and had Goldber relax him with music to fall asleep. Goldberb commissioned the Aria with 30 Variations from Bach. Thus we owe this most magnificant of variation-works to an arisotract's physical failing.
J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering is a broadly known and extensively studied collection of musical pieces, written in 1747 shortly after his visit to the Potsdam court of Frederick the Great. The composition, however, survived in separated sheets of different formats, and finding the logic of its organization into a cycle became a great challenge for scholars of the following centuries. Based on ground-breaking findings by Christoph Wolff, who revealed the main principles of the Musical Offering’s structure, as well as those promulgated by Hans Theodor David, and more recently by G. Butler, W. Wiemer, R. Tatlow, and many other scholars, this book develops and revises their ideas, arriving at a unique conception of the possible original structure of the Musical Offering. While the rods of the collection do not provoke disagreements among scholars, the ordering of the ten canons (including the Fuga canonica) remains mysterious in many aspects, and this text gives them a close examination. It considers their kinds (thematic and contrapuntal); textual inscriptions; the canons’ function within the cycle (as vignettes to the main pieces); and their location, among other aspects. The volume includes profuse references to historical and cultural context; court etiquette; contrapuntal techniques; the history of the ricercar; expertise in Bach’s handwriting and habits of music layout in his manuscripts; and the Baroque principles of organization in arts.
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