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Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Beethoven: Sparks of Joy

Beethoven, Mozart, Bach: A musical dialogue.

Any discussion of musical masters in dialogue must acknowledge the towering figure of Johann Sebastian Bach. The C-minor series we are about to explore had as its genesis Bach’s  Musical Offering  – a set of pieces based on a theme proposed to him in 1747 by Frederick II, King of Prussia. Today we will hear the three-voice “Ricercar” from Bach’s Musical Offering, followed by Mozart’s Fantasy K.475, composed as a prelude to his Sonata K.457 (we will visit the Sonata tomorrow). [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]

Here, Bach’s “Ricercar à 3” is beautifully performed by Ji-Hyang Gwak:

And now listen to Mozart’s treatment of the theme in the Fantasy K.475, performed here by Mitsuko Uchida:

Those who are interested can find an in-depth analysis of Mozart’s compositional breakthrough in this article by John Sigerson of the Schiller Institute:

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