David Philip Hefti [1975 *]

Musical Offering BWV 1079

J. S. Bach, transkr. D. P. Hefti for clarinet, bassethorn and bass-clarinet


Johann Sebastian Bach:
from the "Musical Offering" BWV 1079,
arranged for Clarinet, Bassethorn und Bass Clarinet by David Philip Hefti

1. Canon a2 cancricans
2. Canon a2 per motum contrarium
3. Canon a2 per augmentationem, contrario motu
4. Canon a2 per tonos
5. Fuga canonica in epidiapente
6. Ricercare a3

The "Musical Offering" (BWV 1079) was written as a consequence of a visit by John Sebastian Bach to the court of Frederik II, where Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was engaged as a cembalo player. The king confronted Bach with a theme composed by himself (the "Thema Regium") and asked him to work it out by using the counterpoint technique. So he composed two fugues (one for three and one for six voices), a trio sonata and ten canons, which form together the Musical Offering and were published in 1747.

From the "Musical Offering" I have edited six pieces suitable for clarinet, bassethorn and bass clarinet: five canons and the fugue for three voices, the Ricercare a3. I have chosen these instruments because of their homogeneous sound and because of their large scale.

It is well known that the music of J. S. Bach is the origin of all music that followed. But it is amazing and underlines the genius of Bach that even the group around Arnold Schoenberg (200 years later!) has been inspired by Bach. The canons of this edition emphasize this fact very well. Bach uses typically serial composition techniques such as retrograde, inversion and augmentation-diminution.

D. P. H.