Musical offering

Large hpm011 cover
  • sample 1

    Part of the Buxtehude’s sonata no. 6 in D minor for violin, viola da gamba, and basso continuo, BuxWV 257

  • sample 2

    The last movement (allegro) of the sonata from Bach’s Musical offering, BWV 1079

  • playing time


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‘The orator and the musician have essentially the same aim: namely, to make themselves masters of the heart of their listeners, to arouse or still their passions, and to transport them now to this sentiment, now to that.  Thus it is to the advantage of both, if each has some knowledge of the duties of the other. (Johann Joachim Quantz)

This recording brings together two wonderful demonstrations of the art of rhetoric: a trio sonata by Dieterich Buxtehude and J. S. Bach’s Musical offering. Bach’s work, written for and dedicated to the flute-playing Frederick the Great, is among his most haunting and enigmatic. The movements are played here not in the order often employed, but in a sequence that reflects their rhetorical unfolding.

The music

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): ‘Musikalisches Opfer’, BWV 1079

Dieterich Buxtehude (c.1637 – 1707): Sonata no. 6 in D minor for violin, viola da gamba, and basso continuo, BuxWV 257

The musicians

The Bach Players:
Marion Moonen flute
Nicolette Moonen violin
Reiko Ichise viola da gamba
Silas Wollston harpsichord

Recording & production

Producer: Roy Mowatt
Recording engineer: Alan Mosley
Editing and mastering: Nicholas Parker

Recorded at St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London, April 2015


The Bach Players’ … latest contextual exploration of the music of Bach, alternating trio sonata textures with solo harpsichord, and prefacing Bach’s music with a wonderful D minor sonata by Bach’s idol, Buxtehude, which shows where Bach might have learned some of his ideas of musical rhetoric. … excellent notes as well, reminding us that there are all kinds of combinations of instruments on which Bach’s fugal exercises might have been performed.
Andrew MacGregor, CD Review, BBC Radio 3, 18 June 2017