Last evening, I had the pleasure of hearing a live performance of the trio sonata from Bach’s Musical Offering (BWV 1079). Scored for flute, violin and continuo, this setting is part of a larger work for solo keyboard that Bach quickly composed following his famous visit to the court of King (and flutist) Frederick the Great.
Bach’s exquisite writing allows this trio sonata to stand on its own, without the benefit of the ricercars, canons and fugues based on the Thema Regium (King’s Theme). Imagine my delight when, well into the second movement, the theme appears in the violin line. I’d completely forgotten about the King’s Theme!
I was also reminded that Bach was unclear as to the intended order of these pieces. Bach has a way of surprising and challenging me to this day!