A Musical Offering

Past event (2018)

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, 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.

Musical Offering will be explored and performed in its entirety by Yellow Barn musicians, before traveling for performances at Symphony Space in New York City and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Interspersed with Bach’s work will be Chinese-American composer Lei Liang’s Garden 8, 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 8 explores the possibility of experiencing polyphony in single pitches.

Residency Concert

Tuesday, January 9 | 8:00pm

Music From Yellow Barn

Saturday, January 13 | 7:30pm