A Musical Offering

In May 1747, Johann Sebastian Bach appeared at the court of Frederick the Great. Although the occasion of his visit was to try Frederick’s collection of fortepianos, it is this meeting that we have to thank for Bach’s miraculous monument of polyphony, A Musical Offering. Frederick tested Bach with a theme upon which he was expected to improvise, and in the moment he complied with a three-voice fugue. Frederick then asked him to extemporize a six-voice fugue with the same theme, but this time Bach demurred, asking for time to work on the score. Within two months, Bach had produced a masterpiece as profoundly moving as it is compositionally staggering.

A Musical Offering will be explored and performed in its entirety by Yellow Barn musicians, before traveling for performances in New York City and Dallas. Interspersed with Bach’s work will be Chinese-American composer Lei Liang’s Garden Eight, a set of interludes that pays tribute to the Ming Dynasty Yuen Yeh, the earliest and most exquisite Chinese horticulture treatise. Liang’s connection with Bach is born out of his fascination with the polyphony found within the single lines that Bach creates, at once experienced as melody and as part of underlying harmony. Garden Eight explores the possibility of experiencing polyphony in single pitches.

Residency Concert

Tuesday, January 9 | 8:00pm
$18 ($16 seniors, $9 students)
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Music From Yellow Barn

Thursday, January 11 | 7:30pm
$30 (Members $26; 30 & Under with ID $20)
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Music From Yellow Barn

Saturday, January 13 | 7:30pm